As the High Court handed down its ruling throwing Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s political career into uncertainty, five MDC legislators yesterday pledged their allegiance to the robotics professor.
The two senators and three MPs signed a petition under the MDC-M banner, denouncing MDC leader Welshman Ncube.
The move by Umzingwane MP Nomalanga Khumalo, Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla (Gwanda North), Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho South) and senators Dalumuzi Khumalo (Lupane) and Kembo Dube (Umzingwane) might effectively see them losing their seats.
Zimbabwe’s laws do not allow for floor-crossing. High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha has ruled Mutambara cannot “masquerade” as MDC leader or principal in the unity government.
The MDC had gone to court after Mutambara challenged new leader Ncube’s election at a congress in January.
A group of 12 officials still calling themselves MDC-M have another case at the High Court challenging Ncube’s election, which is yet to be decided.
The five legislators yesterday circulated a notice, entitled Legislators’ Pledge of Allegiance, Support and Loyalty to the MDC-M Party.
The notice read: “We, the undersigned legislators in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, having noted the recent developments on the above matter, do hereby reaffirm and pledge our loyalty and support to the MDC-M party.”
But observers said the High Court ruling could embolden Ncube to wield the axe on the legislators.
Maxwell Dube said he was unfazed by the court ruling.
“Nothing has changed for me. I was elected on an MDC-M ticket and the status quo remains.
Professor Mutambara remains my leader,” he said.
Mnkandla said: “We will deal with it when the time comes. I am not part of the leadership wrangle, but my allegiance is with Professor Mutambara.”
Khumalo, who is also the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said she was pinning her hopes on the High Court challenge being spearheaded by former MDC chairman Joubert Mudzumwe.
“Mudzumwe and others are challenging Ncube’s election,” she said.
“We are still saying the congress held this year was illegal.”
The Mudzumwe faction issued a statement yesterday saying Mutambara would appeal the High Court decision at the Supreme Court.