EMBATTLED Headlands MP Didymus Mutasa and his nephew Temba Mliswa who is Hurungwe West legislator, have been given a new lease of life after Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda indicated yesterday they remained Parliamentarians despite moves to expel them from the House.
Mudenda yesterday told NewsDay that he would take his time to conduct a due diligence on whether Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo was legally entitled to write to him seeking their expulsion.
Chombo wrote to Mudenda on Thursday informing the National Assembly that Mutasa and Mliswa’s seats should be declared vacant after the Zanu PF politburo expelled the two from the ruling party last week.
However, Mutasa also wrote to Mudenda saying Zanu PF had no legitimate leadership after holding a disputed congress last December that purportedly endorsed new leaders without conducting a poll.
Mudenda confirmed receiving the two contradicting letters saying he would now have to do a due diligence before he made a ruling.
“I confirm receiving letters from the two and I am now in the process of doing a due diligence on the matter before I make a ruling,” Mudenda said.
He said the matter needed time before a decision could be made.
“I cannot say I will make a ruling as early as Tuesday as I have to follow due diligence,” Mudenda said.
Observers said Mudenda was in an unenviable position after last year’s ruling on a similar dispute within the MDC-T when he advised the two factions to seek redress at the courts.
The MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai had written to Parliament recalling all MPs aligned to axed secretary-general Tendai Biti, who now leads MDC Renewal Team.
However, Biti in a counter letter, argued that the leadership in the party was in dispute hence the other faction had no legal authority to recall them until the court decided who the bona-fide leader of the party was.
“In any case, neither the Honourable President of the Senate nor the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly has authority and a role to play in internal disciplinary actions, disputes or differences within political parties, which matters may be appropriately dealt with by a competent court,” Mudenda said then.
Chombo’s notification to the Speaker is the second attempt by Zanu PF to expel its members from Parliament using of Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The section allows a party to cause a seat to be declared vacant if it expels an MP voted on its ticket into the House.
Last year, Zanu PF failed to recall Munyaradzi Kereke and had the embarrassment of withdrawing its matter from the Constitutional Court after Kereke argued he was voted as an independent candidate, thus the party had no right to recall him.
The Mutasa defiance letter sets the scene for a long and bruising legal battle in the courts that could cause a split in the ruling party.