Legal expert questions Khupe’s recall procedure
A LEGAL expert yesterday questioned the recall of embattled MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe through a letter delivered by a postal courier service provider, saying the method used was unprecedented and seemed to favour one political party faction over another.
Parliamentary recalls are often announced by the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda or by the Senate president Mabel Chinomona when Parliament is in session.
Khupe (Proportional Representation Senator) told journalists that she received the letter of her recall from Parliament alongside her long-time ally Nomvula Mguni (PR) on January 26.
She said she had written to the United Nations protesting her alleged victimisation by the Executive and Legislature.
Khupe was suspended by MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora last month before she, in turn, announced that the latter had fired himself from the party after claiming leadership of the MDC Alliance.
Section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution, which talks about recalls of MPs, stipulates that: “The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member (MP) has ceased to belong to a political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or the Senate president, as the case may be, had declared that member has ceased to belong to it.”
Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda yesterday declined to comment on Khupe’s issue.
“I was not at her Press conference and I have no comment,” Chokuda curtly said.
Legal expert Jeremiah Bamu said Parliament seemed to be giving one faction power over the other.
“These are clearly two factions of the same party that are fighting over the recall provisions of the Constitution. Parliament should not interest itself in what happens in political parties. It is not there to give one faction of a party leverage over the other. But regrettably, this is what Parliament seems to be doing,” he said.
“Parliament seems to be furthering the interests of one faction of a political party over the other as opposed to accepting notices from the political party itself. What Parliament ought to say is that unless there is adjudication by the courts as to which one is the legitimate political party, their hands will be tied and therefore cannot accept notice of recall from either of the factions.
“When Parliament resumes sitting, Khupe should attend, but she must first seek to have the communication that she received from the Speaker of the National Assembly (Mudenda) set aside by the courts on the basis that the Speaker received notification from a faction of a political party.”
Bamu said the MDC-T had split into two, so one faction could not recall the other faction.
Khupe said her recall was unprocedural.
“My understanding of parliamentary operations is that the Speaker derives his powers from the mace when he is sitting on his chair in the National Assembly and in the presence of sitting MPs because the mace is the symbol of authority of the House, and the Speaker. Without the mace, the House cannot sit and pass laws,” Khupe said. Newsday.