Zimbabwe: Expelled MDC Alliance MPs Ask for Judge's Recusal in Appeal

9 September 2020

Expelled MDC Alliance MPs, Charlton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami, Thabitha Khumalo and Lilian Timveous Tuesday filed an application with the High Court seeking Justice Pisirayi Kwenda to recuse himself from presiding over appeal against their expulsion from Parliament.

The four politicians were the first MPs to be recalled early this year on the request of MDC-T interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora who indicated the quartet was no longer party members.

The MDC-T has since recalled over 20 MPs and dozens of MDC Alliance councillors on the basis they were no longer party members, throwing the Nelson Chamisa-led formation into disarray.

However, Hwende, the MDC Alliance secretary-general; Mutseyami who was the chief whip in the House of Assembly; Khumalo, national chairperson and Timveous, a former chief whip in the Senate, Tuesday sought to seek the recusal of Justice Kwenda ahead of their appeal application against unfair dismissal.

Speaking to journalists after the recusal hearing at the High Court, the applicants' lawyer, Tendai Biti said his clients felt the judge's "hands are tied".

Biti is also a co-vice president in the MDC Alliance.

"An application was made that Justice Kwenda's hands are tied already in that he handed an extensive judgment already in the form of Basilia Majaya and Gideon Shoko in which he touched on the very same issues and provided judgment on the very same issues," said Biti.

Majaya and Shoko were also recalled from Parliament by the MDC-T. Their appeals at the High Court contesting their recalls were dismissed by Justice Kwenda recently.

"So, the applicants felt it was better that another judge who has not applied his mind to the same facts would hear the matter because if Justice Kwenda was to sit and hear arguments, it would be like asking him to revisit, to sit as a court of appeal in his own judgment, which is not in the best interest for justice at all," said Biti.

Justice Kwenda reserved judgment on the recusal application.

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