By Robert Tapfumaneyi
The provision of recalling legislators from Parliament, which has been widely used in recent months to decimate the opposition MDC Alliance should never have found its way in the 2013 Constitution, Lovemore Madhuku has said.
Madhuku, a top law expert and president of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) if Zimbabweans had been given an opportunity in 2013, the thorny clause would not have found its way in the current Constitution.
He said the controversial law was introduced by the now late former President Robert Mugabe to fire also now Edgar Tekere in 1989.
Tekere was expelled from Zanu PF while serving as a minister and the party’s secretary general.
“Just for the record this clause has always been part of the Zimbabwean Constitution from 1989. It was actually a provision that we would call it the Tekere clause because it was brought in by President Robert Mugabe to deal with Tekere,” Madhuku said.
He was speaking during the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) ZOOM meeting Thursday on the topic; “Recalls and Defections – An Anathema To Representative Democracy.”
“He (Tekere) still remained a Member of Parliament despite leaving Zanu PF, the Lancaster House Constitution, our independence Constitution did not have such an undemocratic provision.
“So, President Mugabe was shocked to find out that Tekere would still seat in Parliament and he is the one who demanded that amendment to the Lancaster House Constitution.
“Unfortunately, or fortunately Tekere himself was not affected by it, the first person who left Parliament because of this provision is Munyaradzi Gwisai. In other words, the first political party to benefit from that provision is the MDC when Munyaradzi Gwisai left Parliament in 2002.”
Madhuku added; “So by 2013 it was already part of our law and what would have been required would have been for the Zimbabweans to debate and then find out whether they like it or not.
“The politicians (in 2013) were pushing for a particular type of Constitution which is why when these clauses are implemented everyone gets shocked and then when people get shocked. They are shocked because they never debated these things and that’s the lesson we must get.
“If Zimbabweans had been given an opportunity in 2013 this clause would not have been part of the constitution. There are 14 ways in which a Member of Parliament may lose his or her seat, so it comes as K, but it starts with an A, you go on until you reach K. Each of those ways, are ways that MPs may lose their seats, so this clause is put specifically to empower political parties, in other words to say an election is about us as political parties not about the people.”