SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has dismissed claims he was under political pressure when he expelled Zanu PF MP for Headlands Didymus Mutasa from the house on the ruling party’s instructions.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo wrote to Mudenda two weeks ago informing him the firebrand politician had ceased to be a party member, paving way for his expulsion as MP.
President Robert Mugabe has publicly denounced his former aide for challenging the outcome of the party’s tumultuous December congress, further issuing threats against any judge who might consider ruling in factor of Mutasa.
But Mudenda has stuck to his guns, insisting his ruling was a legal interpretation of the matter.
“I was only under legal pressure,” he said.
“My decision and ruling had nothing to do with politics; it’s a constitutional matter and was interpreted accordingly.”
Following his expulsion after a politburo sitting last month, Mutasa had defiantly written to Mudenda insisting he was still a legitimate party cadre.
The former presidential affairs minister was adamant the current Zanu PF executive which pronounced his expulsion had no authority to determine his membership as it was in itself illegal, a stance he has further sought to buttress with a court challenge.
Despite Mutasa’s assertions, Mudenda went on to throw him out of the house, igniting claims of bias against post-independence Zimbabwe’s first speaker.
Political observers say Mudenda made his job difficult when he refused a similar request by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC seeking the expulsion of a handful MPs who broke rank with the main opposition to join forces with party secretary general Tendai Biti.
Aware of the looming axe above their heads, Biti lost no time in writing a pre-emptive letter to the Speaker declaring his faction was the legitimate MDC and as such, his MPs had a right to keep their seats.
Ironically joined by Zanu PF MPs, critics insist Mudenda should act likewise and heed the MDC-T’s request to dismiss its rebel legislators.
However, Mudenda, an Advocate, said the Biti and the Mutasa cases were worlds apart.
“In the case of MDC, there was a dispute of leadership; two groups were claiming the same name and subsequently they went to court and Mutasa only complained about due process, that was all l had. That’s a huge difference,” Mudenda said.
Biti and his group have since transformed into being the so-called United Movement for Democratic Change after joining forces with another MDC breakaway faction led by former secretary general Welshman Ncube.
Asked on whether circumstances have changed after the Biti group changed identity, Mudenda said without elaborating, “I am studying the matter.”NewZimbabwe