Advocate Jacob Mudenda, the Speaker of Parliament, has ruled that the MPs that left the MDC-T to form UMDC will no longer be allowed to sit in parliament and their seats are now vacant which has set up the country for another string of by-elections.
John Mokwetsi/Veneranda Langa
The 21 MPs, among them former secretary-general Tendai Biti, crossed over to the MDC Renewal Team, before forming a joint political party with Welshman Ncube’s MDC, which they call UMDC.
The legislators were under threat of losing their seats for sometime after Zanu PF MP for Buhera West Oliver Mandipaka on 5 March raised a point of order in the National Assembly saying they were in the House illegally.
The MPs that left the MDC-T, among them former secretary-general Tendai Biti, crossed over to the MDC Renewal Team, before forming a joint political party with Welshman Ncube’s MDC, which they call UMDC.
Mandipaka suggested they should now be expelled from Parliament like former Headlands MP Didymus Mutasa and Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa.
“It is now in the public domain that when this House expelled Mutasa and Mliswa, it was on the basis that they were no longer affiliated to Zanu PF under whose ticket they were elected to the Eighth Parliament,” Mandipaka said.
“It is also public knowledge that certain MPs came to Parliament through an MDC-T ticket, but they betrayed Morgan Tsvangirai and formed the MDC Renewal, which later merged with MDC to form UMDC.”
He added: “We are alive to the fact that several MPs originally in MDC-T are now in a new political outfit, the UMDC, and what we want to know is their political fate as well as their fate as MPs, and whether their existence in Parliament is legal.”
Mandipaka said their case was not different from the one cited by Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda over Mutasa and Mliswa when he gave an example of Abednigo Bhebhe versus MDC when he lost his seat after crossing to the MDC-T.
Acting Speaker Reuben Marumahoko at first ruled Mandipaka out of order.
“We appreciate your concern, but when the Speaker made that pronouncement over the issue of Mutasa and Mliswa there was a letter from Zanu PF stating there were no longer their members, which is not the case at this instance,” Marumahoko said.
Zanu PF MPs shouted that Tsvangirai had written a letter asking for their dismissal. Marumahoko then said the issue was going to be looked into so that Mudenda makes a ruling.
The MDC-T and MDC Renewal Team fought legitimacy battles with both claiming they were the real MDC.
When Tsvangirai wrote to the Speaker asking for the dismissal of MDC Renewal Team MPs, Biti also wrote his own letter saying MDC-T legislators should be dismissed from Parliament.