- Published on 17 March 2015
- Written by dailynews
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has ruled that former presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa's application challenging his recent expulsion from Parliament should be heard on an urgent basis.
Mutasa filed the application together with his nephew Temba Mliswa, following the duo's expulsion from Parliament, and before that, from Zanu PF. Mutasa and Mliswa have been Zanu PF legislators for Headlands and Hurungwe West respectively.
The duo's lawyer, Tafadzwa Mugabe, whose surname coincidentally is the same with President Mugabe's surname, who is also the second defendant in this case.
The lawyer confirmed soon after the matter was heard in chambers yesterday that Chidyausiku had ruled that the application was urgent.
"The court said it should be heard on an urgent basis. The Chief Justice wants the matter to be heard on the 1st of April 2015, before the nomination court sits," Mugabe said.
The nomination court is expected to sit a week later, on April 8, as the State moves to fill the two seats, with by-elections for the constituencies set for June 10.
In their court application, the two men claimed that their rights to equal protection of the law had been infringed by their expulsion from Parliament. They also argued that they had a right to stand for any elections for public office, and thus sought the court to declare their expulsion a nullity.
They said further that they had a right to administrative justice and to a fair hearing, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
In their application, Mutasa and Mliswa cited the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, President Robert Mugabe and the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Rita Makarau, as respondents.
"My purported expulsion is obviously devoid of substance to be acted upon. It cannot be a basis for anything because it is a nullity.
"....it is clear to me that the conduct of the first respondent in declaring my seat vacant is contrary to law," he said, adding that the section Mudenda had used to expel him from Parliament applied to a person who would have lawfully ceased to belong to a political party of which he or she was a member when elected to the House.
"I have not ceased to be a member of Zanu PF. I can only cease to be a member of Zanu PF in accordance with the provisions of Zanu PF's constitution," Mutasa said.
He argued that Zanu PF should have obtained a court order confirming that he was no longer a member of the party, before expelling him.
"It is ridiculous and clearly contrary to law for the speaker to choose to tow the line of the political party, leaving it to the member to approach the courts," he argued.
Mutasa also said that he had not been served with a notice declaring that his seat was now vacant.
"I don't know whether or not the notice actually exists because it has not been shown to me. I was not given an opportunity to challenge the authenticity of the notice, if it exists," he said.
He further argued that Mudenda was not impartial in his handling of the issue.
"The first respondent (Mudenda) was partial, having participated in all meetings that are at the centre of the issues in dispute, including the meeting that purportedly expelled me.
"He (Mudenda) participated in the purported meeting of the Zanu PF politburo on February 18, 2015, which is said to have expelled me," he said.