Zimbabwe: Recalled Senators Approach Court

TWO MDC-Alliance senators who were recalled from Parliament recently approached the High Court yesterday seeking an interdict against electoral processes likely to be instituted to fill the vacant seats.

MDC-T, led by interim president Dr Thokozani Khupe, withdrew four legislators and senators from Parliament saying they no longer represented the party's interests.

Ms Thabitha Khumalo, proportional representative for Bulawayo Province and Senator Lillian Timveos, made an urgent chamber application in anticipation that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will commence processes to fill the vacant seats.

Mr Chalton Hwende and Mr Prosper Mutseyami were the other two legislators who were recalled by the MDC-T.

The duo was represented by Charles Kwaramba and Alec Muchadehama, who argued that the application seeking the interdict against ZEC was properly before the court and urged the judge to grant the application with costs.

Speaking to journalists after the chamber hearing, Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the recalled MPs approached the court seeking to interdict all electoral processes that should occur once vacancies have arisen.

"They are saying they want a temporary order, while they pursue the application they filed with the court seeking to challenge their recall from parliament," he said.

"It is more like the other one where MDC-Alliance was seeking a temporary order to stop further recalls, while they were pursuing the matter here in courts. It's the second side of that coin of last week."

High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi recently ruled that the MDC-Alliance does not legally exist as a legal person who can sue in court, and in the dispute of the MDC-T recall of legislators, it does not have the standing to sue, suggesting that the recalled legislators could bring legal actions as individuals.

The latest issue for determination is whether the court should temporarily stop the process to fill the vacancies.

But Prof Madhuku said the recalled legislators could not interdict lawful processes.

"You cannot provisionally stop the operation of our Constitution because you will have many vacancies in Parliament remaining unfilled as long the disputes are going on between these two political parties," said Prof Madhuku.

He said the point that whether the decision by Parliament to expel the legislators was wrong or not was a matter for the court to decide, but said before that is set aside by the court, one cannot interdict ZEC to fill the vacancies.

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