DEPUTY Prime Minister (DPM) Arthur Mutambara yesterday leapt to the defence of five MDC legislators who were fired for allegedly selling out to the rival MDC-T, saying they were elected under his leadership and cannot be expelled from the House of Assembly.
Report by Everson Mushava
Mutambara, who lost the leadership of the MDC formation to Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube at the party’s congress last year, has refused to relinquish the DPM post.
The High Court early this year ruled that Mutambara cannot masquerade as MDC leader, but he is challenging the ruling at the Supreme Court.
Another High Court judgmentsaid he lost fairly the MDC position to Ncube, who is also now being recognised by Sadc as the legitimate principal in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The expulsion of the legislators will automatically mean that they lose their parliamentary seats as Zimbabwean laws do not allow for floor-crossing.
But Mutambara wrote to the Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo and President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe asking them to ignore the expulsions.
The affected legislators include Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Nomalanga Khumalo, Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho South MP), Thandeko Mnkandla (Gwanda North MP) and senators Dalumuzi Khumalo (Lupane) and Kembo Dube (Umzingwane).
In the letter addressed to Moyo and Madzongwe, Mutambara said Ncube cannot cause the expulsion of any MP until the Supreme Court delivers judgment on his appeals against High Court rulings.
“Consequently, all the issues are subjudice,” Mutambara claimed.
“Once the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has ruled in his favour in both the pending cases, then the leadership led by Welshman Ncube can take action against the MPs.”
Mutambara said the legislators were elected under his leadership and Ncube cannot expel them without his consent.
“This letter serves to ask you to disregard this illegal communication based on illegitimate actors,” he said.
“Even in this scenario, how do you fire more than 70% of your elected representatives and remain legitimate as party leader and as government minister? “This has never happened in the history of constitutional democracies.”
Both Moyo and Madzongwe could not be reached for comment as they were reported to be out of office yesterday.
The sacking of the five leaves the MDC with National Healing co-minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, Education minister David Coltart, Foreign Affairs deputy minister Robert Makhula, Siyabonga Malandu Ncube (MP) Patrick Dube and Edward Mkhosi (MP) as its elected representatives. In 2009, the party kicked out three other MPs namely, Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu over allegations that they were aligned to MDC-T.