Parliament hiding behind a finger

editorial comment

PARLIAMENT over the weekend made a startling admission in a miscalculated attempt to justify its swearing in of MDC-T Members of Parliament despite the matter being before the courts.

In its terse statement, Parliament gave an explanation that its action was above-board and there was nothing sinister, but in the process confessed the matter was sub judice.

This, in all fairness, was the biggest admission that they carried out a process that they knew was being challenged before the courts. It’s the equivalent of holding the middle finger to another arm of governance and damn the consequences.

Parliament’s actions invited rebuke from lawyers, political analysts and opposition actors and that should be a wake-up call to the august House. If Parliament wants to avoid criticism, then it needs to act in a transparent, legal manner that does not reduce it to a circus.

Indeed, the action was an indictment to democracy and Parliament cannot shield the fault or seek to cast it on anyone, it is purely its error.

There was a court challenge filed prior to the swearing-in of MDC-T leader and her appointees in Parliament on the basis of votes that they did not get and where in fact, apportioned to a rival by the electoral authorities (yes, it has become that ridiculous!). Parliament was aware of the court challenge as it had been cited, but still went ahead.

A sober analysis of the Parliament statement on the matter suggests it deliberately swore in Khupe and her acolytes, daring the court processes and the actual electoral victors.

That was indeed a sad day for democracy, particularly given that an institution that is supposed to be the vanguard of virtue went on to commit a travesty to justice. It seems it has lost its bearings.

Now, Khupe is an MP despite having contested as a presidential candidate and lost badly to Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance who garnered over two million votes and the adjudged winner, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu PF who received 50,6% of the votes.

Khupe managed 45 000 national votes, but now thanks to Parliament, she stands tall in the House “representing the people” who overwhelmingly rejected her. There is absolutely nothing “honourable” about her presence in the House or those who put her there.

Such a shameless assault on democracy and desperation for legitimacy cannot go unchallenged and the actors in this drama should bury their heads in collective shame.

Parliament argued that on the day, between 1415hrs and 1430hrs, there was no court order to stop them from swearing Khupe in.

In the same statement, Parliament said it had never gone against a court order as it respected court processes, but on this one, they have no takers, they stand accused of conniving with other political actors to get away with murder.

What was the hurry in appointing the Khupe MPs when the matter was before the courts?

A voter, Charles Madhiwa of Mbizo, Kwekwe approached the High Court, seeking to stop the swearing in ceremony and cited Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, its chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona as well as Khupe and her chosen parliamentary candidates as respondents.

If that was not enough for the Legislature to allow court processes to be concluded, nothing will ever be.

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