Zimbabwe: Biti Bounces Back in Parliament

24 September 2021

HIGH Court judge Justice Joseph Mafusire has reinstated MDC vice president Tendai Biti and five other expelled People's Democratic Party (PDP) legislators to parliament after ruling their expulsion was unlawful.

In a judgement handed down on September 22, Mafusire ruled Benjamin Rukanda, who declared himself PDP's secretary general had no legal standing to dismiss the six.

The judge ruled that their termination was null and void.

"The application can only succeed. The power of recall from Parliament in s 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution is reposed in the political party the Member of Parliament was a member of at the time of the election. The 1st and 2nd respondents were not members of the seventh applicant at the time of the 2018 general election. They have no power to recall the applicants," Justice Mafusire said.

Biti was expelled from parliament together with Settlement Chikwinya, William Madzimure, Sichelesile Mahlangu, Regai Tsunga, and Kucaca Phulu.

Rukanda claimed they had ceased to represent PDP interests.

In April, another High Court judge, Justice Amy Tsanga nullified the expulsion letter by Rukanda and ruled that he was not the party's SG.

Rukanda haD filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court blocking Justice Tsanga's ruling nullifying the expulsion of the six MPs from Parliament.

Rukanda wanted an order stopping the execution of the judgment arguing the legislators cannot be representatives in a party they no longer belong to.

He said their interests are now in the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa adding that a default judgment was handed down because he was not served with the urgent chamber application.

In the certificate of urgency, his lawyer Everson Chatambudza said the dispute between the parties has not been resolved on the merits.

But Justice Mafusire said the termination of the six from parliament was null and void.

In their application at the High Court, the six had averred that they had a right to be re-admitted into Parliament as the letter had been declared null and void thereby overturning Mudenda's decision to recall them.

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