Constitutional law Professor Lovemore Madhuku has said there is no legal ambiguity whatsoever on the expulsion status of six MDC Alliance legislators who were recalled from Parliament recently.
The six legislators were removed from Parliament by a splinter of their former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) saying they had ceased to represent its interests.
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National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda simply read out a letter from the PDP seeking the lawmakers’ expulsion without announcing explicitly that their seats had fallen vacant.
This has raised legal questions with legal watchdog Veritas on Monday saying the recalls remained an open question due to “confused and hotly disputed” facts.
But Madhuku, who leads the opposition party National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), said the law was clear, and the six were no longer lawmakers. Madhuku said:
According to our constitutional law, as now spelt out authoritatively by the Constitutional Court, the vacancy of a Member of Parliament who is being recalled arises at the moment the Speaker or the President of the Senate receives the letter that is contemplated in Section 129 (1) (k).
So the vacancy arises at the moment of receipt of the letter. The vacancy does not arise at the moment the Speaker makes the announcement in the National Assembly or the President of the Senate making an announcement in the Senate.
It is not relevant what the speaker says in Parliament or how he words his announcement is not relevant.
What is only relevant is the notification by him to say that I did receive, is just but public information to say that the vacancy did arise earlier on.
MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti, formerly PDP president, and colleagues Settlement Chikwinya, William Madzimire, Sichelesile Mahlangu, Regai Tsunga, and Kucaca Phulu were recalled from Parliament on 17 March 2021.