THE Constitutional Court will today hear the case in which former Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa and his nephew Temba Mliswa are challenging the constitutionality of their expulsion from Parliament.
Messrs Mutasa and Mliswa were expelled from Zanu-PF after they continued to undermine the revolutionary party and its leadership despite several warnings against doing so.
To that end, Zanu-PF notified National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda of the pair’s expulsion and in terms of Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution, he made an announcement declaring the seats vacant.
The Chief Registrar of the superior courts Mr Munamato Mutevedzi set the matter down for hearing today in compliance with Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s ruling last week that the matter was urgent.
Messrs Mutasa and Mliswa’s challenge will be the only business of the Constitutional Court for the day and it is hoped that judgment will be delivered before April 8 this year.
Parliament recently declared the duo’s positions in the National Assembly vacant following their dismissal from Zanu-PF.
Mutasa lost his Headlands seat while Mliswa was stripped of Hurungwe West.
Through their lawyers Nyakutombwa, Mugabe Legal Counsel, the duo filed an application challenging their dismissal from Parliament.
The lawyers argue that Zanu-PF did not follow due process in expelling the two, hence the National Assembly Speaker’s decision to declare their seats vacant was a nullity.
Mutasa and Mliswa seek to bar by-elections in Headlands and Hurungwe West Constituencies despite the President setting June 10 as the poll date.
Adv Mudenda, President Mugabe and the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Justice Rita Makarau were listed as respondents in the court application.
Mutasa and Mliswa allege that their expulsion from Parliament violated their constitutional rights, hence the decision must be nullified.
They say their right to equal protection of the law as enshrined under Section 56 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe was violated by the conduct of Adv Mudenda.
However, Adv Mudenda said the expulsion of the pair was above board as proper procedures were followed.
Adv Mudenda, who is being represented by Messrs Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners, denied ever violating the duo’s fundamental rights.
Adv Mudenda confirmed that Zanu-PF’s 6th National People’s Congress held last December was legitimate and the resolutions passed were above board and binding on party members.
Further, he questioned why Mutasa did not take the appropriate action(s) to interdict the alleged illegal congress and Politburo meetings as well as the disciplinary hearing if he was concerned, as he claimed in his papers.
Adv Mudenda also said the expulsion from Parliament of the two did not bar them from contesting the by-elections as independent candidates.
He added that the exercise was intended to give the voters of Headlands and Hurungwe West constituencies an opportunity to express their wish in the changed circumstances.
President Mugabe, who has since responded to the application through his lawyer Mr Terence Hussein of Hussein and Ranchhod, insists that he acted within the confines of the law when he fixed the dates for by-elections in the two constituencies.
He said the relief sought by Mutasa and Mliswa was overtaken by events since he had acted in terms of the Constitution and published the proclamation calling for the by-elections in the two constituencies.
The President further argued that his involvement in the matter ended with calling for by-elections upon receiving advice of vacancies from the Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.