(Last Updated on October 23, 2013 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – Dr Munyaradzi Kereke remains Bikita West legislator after the Constitutional Court yesterday nullified his expulsion from Parliament.
This follows an out-of-court-settlement agreed upon by Dr Kereke’s lawyers and those acting for Zanu PF. The full bench of the Constitutional Court, led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, granted the consent order penned by the parties’ lawyers last week.
Dr Kereke had sued Zanu-PF for seeking his expulsion from Parliament on the basis that he had been fired from the party and could not purport to represent it in the August House.
He had also cited Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as respondents.
“The termination of the membership of Parliament for the applicant by the first respondent (Speaker of National Assembly) dated October 3, 2013 is null and void and is hereby set aside. Applicant is a member of the National Assembly,” said Chief Justice Chidyausiku.
Dr Kereke was expelled from Zanu-PF on July 10, but went on to win the Bikita West Constituency in the July 31 harmonised elections.
This was after last-minute attempts by the revolutionary party to have him barred from contesting in the elections using the party’s name was thrown out by the electoral body. Zanu-PF recently wrote to Mudenda advising him that Dr Kereke could not purport to represent it, since he had been fired.
The letter sparked a dispute which spilled into the Constitutional Court, as Dr Kereke challenged his expulsion from Parliament, arguing that he had ceased to be a member of Zanu-PF at the time the elections were held.
He argued that Zanu-PF wrote to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission notifying it that he was not their member and as such the party had not provided any financial or material help for his campaign. Dr Kereke argued that the section which both Zanu-PF and Mudenda relied upon to expel him from Parliament did not apply to his situation.
He said he ceased to be a member of Zanu-PF on July 10, as evidenced by a letter written to him by the party’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
Dr Kereke beat Elias Musakwa (Zanu-PF), Mr Heya Shoko (MDC-T) and Mr Benjamin Katema (MDC) after getting the nod to stand on a Zanu-PF ticket from the party’s Masvingo provincial committee. Yesterday, Dr Kereke welcomed the court’s decision to nullify his expulsion from the August House.
“Today’s pronouncement by the full bench of the Constitutional Court that my expulsion from Parliament was illegal and hence null and void is testimony that Zimbabwe is a thriving democratic society underpinned by the rule of law.
“In this case, there are no losers and there are no winners. What we have is socio-political equilibrium as founded in the letter and spirit of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”Dr Kereke said it was time now to focus on delivering developmental projects to the electorate.