D-Day for MDC legislators

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Tendai Kamhungira
DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER
kamhungirat@dailynews.co.zw

HIGH Court judge Joseph Mafusire will on Monday rule on an application by two MDC Alliance legislators who are seeking an order barring the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T and Parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda from replacing them as lawmakers after they were recalled on April 3 this year.

This comes as reinstated MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said the Khupe-led camp had a right to recall the legislators — Lillian Timveos and Thabitha Khumalo — from the National Assembly, following the nullification of Nelson Chamisa’s presidency.

The legislators approached the High Court challenging the recall in an application in which they cited Mwonzora, Khupe, MDC-T, Mudenda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona and chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Priscillah Chigumba, as respondents.

However, Mwonzora in his court affidavit, argued that the Khupe-led camp had a right to replace the two recalled MPs.

“The third respondent (MDC-T) is entitled to replace a recalled Member of Parliament. The applicants publicly stated that they are no longer members of the third respondent, which is the party they belonged to at the time of elections.

“The applicants were recalled in terms of the … Constitution of Zimbabwe and therefore any filling of the vacancy so created has to be filled as provided in the Constitution as read with the Electoral Act. This honourable court is being asked to interdict a constitutional body from discharging its constitutional mandate,” Mwonzora said in the court affidavit.

The current litigation comes after the Supreme Court removed Chamisa as the MDC leader following a leadership wrangle between him and Khupe.

The wrangle ensued following the death of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018. Following Tsvangirai’s demise, Chamisa immediately became the party’s president, triggering a nasty battle with Khupe, who was then one of the party’s vice presidents.

The Supreme Court ordered the party to return to its 2014 structures and hold an extra-ordinary congress to select its new leadership.

In the current court case, Mwonzora said Timveos and Khumalo’s application was “unjust and illegal” and was meant to circumvent clear constitutional provisions.

The legislators told the court that they participated in the 2018 harmonised elections under the MDC-Alliance banner, which had its own logo, name and symbol and not the MDC-T, which was behind their recall.

However, Mwonzora in his response said they participated in the 2018 elections as two factions of the same party.
Timveos, who was the senator for Midlands Province, while Khumalo was Proportional Representation MP for

Bulawayo Province, said they approached the court after fears that their positions may be filled, despite them challenging the decision.

The two, who are represented by Charles Kwaramba from Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, were recalled together with Prosper Mutseyami, who represented Chikanga-Dangamvura Constituency and Chalton Hwende, the former Kuwadzana East MP.

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