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Ex-MPs fight for by-elections


BULAWAYO — President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) have not yet responded to a court application to hold by-elections in Nkayi, Lupane East and Bulilima East constituencies, with the 10-day period for lodging opposing papers having expired.
Following the expiry of the 10-day period, the three applicants, Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) are now going back to court to confirm the order to compel authorities to hold the polls in two weeks.
The seats fell vacant last year when the trio was expelled from MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. The first applicant in the case, Bhebhe, yesterday told NewsDay that the three respondents had not yet responded to their court application.
“The 10 days within which they were supposed to respond expired on Thursday,” he said. “Now we will be going back to court to have our order confirmed and I am in the process of getting the return of service from Harare, which confirms the actual dates on which the respondents were served.”
Bhebhe said they were pressing ahead with the case as part of efforts to “end the circus in government”.
“How can you have people ignoring constitutional requirements?” Bhebhe asked. “In fact, what is the use of having a new constitution when it is not going to be adhered to? Even a tuckshop is not run in that way.”
Three weeks ago, Bhebhe, Mguni and Mpofu applied to the Bulawayo High Court to force by-elections in their constituencies within two weeks of confirmation of the order.
They cited President Mugabe as the third respondent in his official capacity as the responsible authority for ordering parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe.
Zec chairperson Simpson Mutambanengwe was cited as the first respondent and Zec as the second respondent.
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) stipulates that in the event of a by-election, parties in the inclusive government cannot contest each other, but can compete against independent candidates.
Recently, MDC secretary- general Welshman Ncube made headlines in the state media accusing the MDC-T of bribing the three expelled MPs to stand as proxy candidates and force a by-election.
“We have it on good authority that MDC-T has bribed the three MPs we expelled from our party and they are now using them as proxy candidates,” he reportedly said.
“This is in flagrant breach of the GPA.”
The applicants said President Mugabe should be “ordered and directed to gazette a date for elections within 14 days of granting of this order” in the three constituencies.
They also want Mutambanengwe and Zec to be “ordered to give effect to the order in paragraph one (proclamation of election date by President Mugabe) and hold by-elections therein to fill the vacancies that exist”.
In their affidavits, the trio said they wanted to stand in their respective constituencies as independent candidates.

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