PARLIAMENT has rejected MDC-T’s demand to withdraw 18 MPs among them Tendai Biti and his Renewal Team members citing pending the High Court case which will determine who are the legal leaders of the party.
This is the second time in seven months that Parliament has turned down the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T’s request to withdraw the MPs and declare the seats vacant.
MDC-T had written to Parliament arguing that Biti and his team — who split from the party in April — should be withdrawn.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and President of the Senate Ednah Madzongwe yesterday in nearly identical letters turned down MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s request to declare the seats vacant.
The presiding officers in their letter said the MDC-T congress was not a judicial decision on who the true leaders of the party were in the present dispute.
“I wish to advise you that the alleged resolution made at your MDC-T party congress does not constitute a judicial decision,” they wrote, “In the result, I hereby inform you that I cannot accede to your purported instructions to the Speaker as per your interpretation of section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution.”
In their letters in May 2014 the presiding officers argued that: “This was clearly an issue of legitimacy in the administration of the MDC-T party and that neither the Honourable President of the Senate nor the Speaker of the National Assembly has any authority to make a determination as to who within the MDC-T party has the right to recall MPs in terms of section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution.”
Parliament reminded Mwonzora that the party’s leadership dispute was still pending before the High Court in case number HC 5303/2014.
This is the second time the leadership wrangle in the MDC has come before the courts after a split. The first time was in 2005 when Welshman Ncube and others split from the party after Tsvangirai overrode a national council resolution to participate in senate elections.
The matter was finally settled out of court.