Zimbabwe Parliament Expells Three MDC MPs

HARARE – Zimbabwe's Parliament Speaker, Lovemore Moyo, has expelled three members of parliament belonging to the smaller faction of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC-M) following mounting pressure from the party

The three, Nkayi South legislator, Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulima East), were last month expelled from the beleaguered party for alleged indiscipline. The move has caused serious divisions in the party.

Austin Zvoma, Clerk of Parliament revealed Tuesday that Moyo had formally wrote to President Robert Mugabe on Monday advising him of the vacancies created by the expulsion of the three.

A national council meeting chaired by Mutambara last week endorsed the decision by the party’s disciplinary committee to expel them from the party.

The council gave Moyo up to this Tuesday to declare the vacancies or face criminal action for allegedly corruptly siding with the rebel legislators.

Mutambara alleged Moyo, was refusing to declare the seats vacant because he had benefited from the three’s votes when he was elected Speaker soon after the March 29 elections last year.

This was in defiance of a party directive to vote for the MDC leadership’s choice of former legislator, Paul Themba Nyathi, who was also being backed by Zanu PF.

Moyo is legislator for Matobo North constituency under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

The new development is a big blow to the three legislators who were battling to both reverse their expulsion from the party and stop parliament from declaring their seats vacant.

This comes after attempts to block their expulsion through a Bulawayo court also failed last week.

The three have since taken their matter to the Supreme Court.

President Mugabe is now expected to officially declare the seats vacant, paving way for by-elections that could see the embattled MPs contesting the elections as independents.

The by-elections are supposed to be held any time after the 15th of September, the expiry date of a one year moratorium declared by the new unity government on the holding of by-elections.

However, the three may have to endure a longer period outside Parliament as government is yet to constitute the envisaged Independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (IZEC) that shall take over the running of all elections in the country from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The decision by Moyo to declare the seats vacant is also a big blow to a splinter group fronted by one Edwin Dzambara, which has written to parliament requesting the reversal of the three legislators’ expulsion from their party.

Dzambara, an MDC national council member, claims to be the acting secretary general of the MDC and has asked parliament to ignore any communication coming from Professor Welshman Ncube, the sitting secretary general of the MDC.