Legislator contests recall


Tarisai Machakaire

MDC Alliance proportional representative for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Dorcas Sibanda, has approached the High Court challenging her recall from Parliament.

Sibanda was recalled from Parliament on October 1 after the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC announced that she was no longer a party member and declared her seat vacant.

In the application Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere legal practitioners representing Sibanda cited MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, Khupe, the MDC, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as respondents and asked the court to nullify the decision.

The court heard that on October 2, Mwonzora addressed a press conference where he announced dates for meetings concerning the party’s congress.

He also announced dates in October and November for the nomination of candidates for election to the position of party president.

Mwonzora is reported to have announced that all recalled members of Parliament and councillors are not eligible to participate in the electoral process at congress and would not be able to contest in the election.

“The effect of the announcement is to exclude other members, political rivals and potential candidates like the applicant from the electoral process,” Sibanda argued.

“The said exclusion is a violation both of the MDC constitution and the national constitution. The rights of the applicant to participate in the political activities of the MDC have been interfered with and are likely to continue being hindered.

“The applicant’s rights as a member of the MDC party have been interfered with due to the expulsion from the party without due process. The applicant’s right to participate in the political activities of the party through parliament have been interfered with due to the unlawful recall.”

Sibanda said she feared that important decisions would be made which are detrimental to her political interests during the period that she would be excluded.

“If my entry into Parliament on the ticket of the MDC Alliance were to be construed as joining another party then the first respondent (Mwonzora) is no better than me. His entry into Senate was on the MDC Alliance party list and his membership of the MDC would have similarly terminated,” she added.

“On what basis then can Senator Mwonzora write a letter recalling me and stating that I joined another party?”

Khupe has so far recalled 31 legislators and several councillors across the country who aligned themselves to the MDC Alliance.

This followed the Supreme Court ruling early this year which nullified the ascendency of Nelson Chamisa to the MDC presidency after the death of the founding leader of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai on February 14, 2018.

The court declared Khupe the interim president of the party and ordered her to organise an elective extraordinary congress to elect Tsvangirai’s successor.

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