By Nyemudzai Kakore
Parliament yesterday expelled MDC-T vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe after the party wrote to the National Assembly Speaker saying she no longer represented its interests.
Announcing the expulsion in the National Assembly yesterday, acting Speaker Cde Reuben Marumahoko said by operation of the law, there now existed a vacant seat as Parliament had received a letter of notice from MDC-T to the effect that Dr Khupe was no longer a member of the party.
“Pursuant to this, a vacancy has arisen in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.
Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that: “A seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a Member when elected to Parliament.
Cde Marumahoko said administrative processes regarding the notification of the vacancy to President Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) would be executed soon in line with Section 39(1) of the Electoral Act, [Chapter 2:13].
But Dr Khupe last night described her recall as malicious.
In a statement issued through her personal assistant Mr Witness Dube, Dr Khupe said: “MDC-T acting president Hon Dr Thokozani Khupe finds her recall from Parliament as a malicious act of interfering into the internal matters of political party, considering that she had long written to parliament notifying them of a leadership crisis in the party. This leadership crisis is currently awaiting settlement before the High Court of Zimbabwe, and it is therefore difficult to understand what legal criteria the Parliament of Zimbabwe used in taking sides with another faction of the party. The acting president has instructed her legal counsel to seek legal relief on this matter.”
Human rights lawyer and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Mr Sharon Hofisi said parliament had acted in terms of the law as Dr Khupe had not contested the presidency in a judicial way.
“Dr Khupe has officially left the party. The challenge to Mr Chamisa’s presidency has not been done. The legal challenge to the two vice presidents who were appointed was dismissed on a technicality and as it stands no one has gone back to the courts to put to rest the fact that is Mr Chamisa the legitimate leader of the MDC- T,” he said.
“There is still a chance that Madam Khupe might challenge the MDC-T over the use of the party name. However she has agreed that she has left MDC-T by launching her own party and only indicating that she will use the MDC-T name during the elections. This leaves the institution MDC-T under Chamisa to deal with her in the manner they have done since Chamisa has been endorsed by the party’s national council.”
He said Dr Khupe had since instructed Professor Lovemore Madhuku to legally challenge her recall and said the necessary court papers would be filed at the courts.
Professor Lovemore Madhuku said Parliament was abusing the law.
“The Constitution does not contemplate that a seat of an MP can be so cheap that it can be lost easily. Parliament ought to be more sensitive to the ideals of a democratic society based on the rule of law,” he said.
“It must not take sides. It must leave it to the courts to resolve disputes of this nature. The correct position is that the contestation must first be resolved by the courts before an MP loses his or her seat.”