Zete! Khupe, six others sworn as MPs

Thokozani Khupe in Parliament
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MDC T acting president Dr Thokozani Khupe and six others from that party were this afternoon sworn in as Members of the National Assembly under the Proportional Representative seat.

The other members who were sworn in are: Memory Munochinzwa, January Sawuke, Lindani Moyo, Sipho Makone, Yvonne Musarurwa and Lwazi Sibanda.

The seven were part of 15 MPs nominated by the MDC T to fill vacancies following the recall of some legislators after they ceased to represent the interests of the party in Parliament.

The oath was administered by Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda in terms of the law.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda said the swearing in of the MPs followed a letter written to him by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) notifying him of the persons nominated to fill such vacancies.

Earlier a pro-opposition publication; the News Day said MDC-T interim leader Thokozani Khupe and her 14 party nominees’ march to Parliament, where they are set to replace recalled MDC Alliance MPs, is now hanging in the balance following an urgent court application to stop the process.

Khupe and her acolytes were likely to be sworn in today after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) last Friday confirmed the filling of 15 seats by her party nominees, where she was also set to become the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

The Zec notice came despite the electoral body sitting on over 10 000 objections to General Notice 2078/202 of July informing the public that it had received notice from Parliament of 15 PR seat vacancies, according voters 14 days to object.

But a voter, Charles Madhiwa of Mbizo, Kwekwe, yesterday approached the High Court, seeking to stop the swearing in ceremony.

He is seeking an order to stop Khupe and her acolytes from taking oath as Members of Parliament.

“Respondents shall not administer or cause the sixth to 20th respondents to take an oath of office as a Member of Parliament nor occupy nor allow being occupied any seat in Parliament on the basis of GN 2553 of 2020 or of any appointment declared therein.”

The respondents are yet to respond to the application.

Madhiwa cited Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Zec, it’s chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona as well as Khupe and her chosen parliamentary candidates as respondents.

Madhiwa submitted that General Notice 2553 of 2020 was not consistent with section 157 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in that MDC-T nominees could not replace another party’s members.

“The Government Notice 2553 of 2020 is declared to be inconsistent with section 157(1)(9d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in that it purported to award seats in Parliament said to be vacant to the sixth to twentieth respondents as nominees of MDC-T without ensuring that those nominated by MDC-T and appointed by Zec were members of another political party MDC Alliance, whose members had won and held those seats; and accordingly that Government Notice 2553 of 2020 and all appointments announced therein are null, void and of no legal force or effect,” Madhiwa submitted.

“I am filing this application as a matter of principle in an effort to stop people from one distinct political party being sworn in as Members of Parliament to fill seats won and previously held by members of another distinct political party, without any election.”

He said if this undemocratic and unconstitutional practice proceeded, it would be clearly violating the Constitution and would also alter the results of the 2018 harmonised election.

“If allowed, it will also alter the election results announced in 2018 by Zec and the chairperson, although under our law, changing an election result can only be done by a court ruling on an election petition, neither of which has occurred here,” he submitted.

“Zec has in effect usurped the role of the courts and purported to alter Zimbabwe’s 2018 parliamentary election results as proclaimed by itself.

“It will alter our Parliament’s composition in a way that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, based on the will of the people as expressed at the last general elections held in July 2018.”

Madhiwa said during the 2018 general elections, all voters and respondents, including Zec and Chigumba, recognised MDC-T and the MDC Alliance as separate opposition parties, irrespective of their legal nature.

He submitted that no party took part in the elections as MDC or Movement for Democratic Change.

He added that the MDC-T and MDC Alliance each fielded their own candidates in those 2018 elections in competition with each other and with other parties and independent candidates.

“I note that Khupe stood for president, while Yvonne Musarurwa, Lwazi Sibanda, Dorothy Molly Ndhlovu, Khalipani Phugeni, Tamani Moyo and Chief Ndhlovu all stood for seats in Parliament, all saying they were sponsored by MDC-T, and all unsuccessful,” Madhiwa submitted.

“Piniel Denga and Teti Chisorochengwe also stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 2018, at the time being sponsored by MDC Alliance, but later left that political party and joined its rival MDC-T, as of course they are entitled to do.”