MDC-M expels three MPs
BULAWAYO – The embattled Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Arthur Mutambara expelled three MPs on Monday and cautioned a fourth after a botched disciplinary hearing earlier this month.
Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South); Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) will all cease to be MPs when the party informs the Clerk of Parliament of its decision.
Also expelled from the party was national executive member Alex Goosen, an ostrich farmer from Matabeleland North.
The move leaves the MDC formation with seven MPs and six Senators in the House of Assembly and the Senate respectively.
Nkayi South MP Abednico Bhebhe, Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) and Njabuliso Mguni from Lupane East want the High Court to set aside the outcome of a weekend disciplinary hearing, because they feel the party did not follow proper procedures.
The 3 MP’s are part of a group of 8 officials hauled before the disciplinary committee, to answer charges they denounced the party leadership while drumming up support for the larger MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Two other MP’s, Thandeko Mkandla (Gwanda North) and Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho South), were asked to appear before the hearings, despite not being suspended. Former St Mary’s MP Job Sikhala, National Youth Chair Gift Nyandoro and commercial farmer Alex Goosen were also suspended.
It’s the suspended MP’s however who have hired lawyer Thamsanqa Khumalo, arguing that the charges placed on them are ‘vague’ and they want the disciplinary committee to lay specific charges. Over the weekend the MP’s walked out of the hearing demanding ‘specific charges, dates and venues of when the crimes were committed.’
Their lawyer Khumalo told journalists his clients wanted to be furnished with the names and statements from all the witnesses involved in the matter.
The chairman of the disciplinary committee, Lyson Mlambo, said they had already made a decision on the fate of the MP’s and would announce the verdicts soon. He accused the MP’s of trying to use the court process as a means of delaying the case. The party leadership meanwhile remains heavily divided over the matter.
Farai Maguwu, director of the Centre for Research and Development based in Harare, said the Mutambara MDC was ‘committing political suicide’ by attempting to sack its elected MP’s. He said the top leadership all lost elections last year and if they got rid of the MP’s, who all won elections, the party would become ‘an empty shell’ without any constituency. Maguwu said the only reason the Mutambara MDC was in government was because of the elected MP’s.