(Last Updated on May 1, 2014 by Editor)
From the Office of the Secretary -General
The Speaker Parliament of Zimbabwe
Cnr Nelson Mandela/Third Street
Re: Notice of the Suspension of Morgan Tsvangirai, Thokozani Khupe, Lovemore Moyo, Morgan Komichi, Nelson Chamisa, Abednico Bhebhe and Douglas Mwonzora by the MDC National Council.
1. I write to you in my capacity as the Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change.
2. I confirm that on Saturday 26th of April 2014, the National council of the MDC met at Mandel Training Centre and came up with a number of resolutions that included the following:
a) The suspension, in terms of Article 12 of the MDC constitution, of Morgan Tsvangirai, Thokozani Khupe, Lovemore Moyo, Douglas Mwonzora, Nelson Chamisa, Abednico Bhebhe and Morgan Komichi.
b) A resolution that the councillors present, expressed their constitutional right to dissociation from the above named individuals.
c) A resolution that for the time being the party will be placed under curatorship and that the guardian council, created in accordance with the MDC constitution, will take over the running of the party.
3. In addition, the council came to the conclusion that the people of Zimbabwe elected councillors and Members of Parliament and therefore in the absence of a right of recall by the citizen directly, there should be a restrictive approach in any attempt to dismiss a Member of Parliament or a councillor. In this regard, I was instructed to inform you Mr Honourable Speaker that:
i) No one in the MDC other than the Secretary-General has a right to write to you on any issue with respect to our Members of Parliament particularly in terms of Section 129 of the Constitution;
ii) The party itself is now clearly divided, between the faction of fascists, led by the suspended Morgan Tsvangirai and the Renewal Democratic Team that met at Mandel Training Centre on the 26th of April 2014.
iii) Effectively there are now two National Councils and that if none of these has more authority than the other one if anything the one with Secretary is the superior.
4. I have the pleasure of attaching herein as I hereby do, a full set of our resolutions.
5. I, therefore, bring your attention to Paragraph D of these resolutions dealing with MDC Members of Parliament and councillors and effectively advise that no one other than the Secretary-General, can fire or dismiss any of our Members of Parliament.
6. In any event, as a point of law Section 129(k) and 129(I) of the Constitution, are and can only be interpreted as Anti-Floor Crossing provisions. Section 129(I) deals with an independent member who then joins a political party upon election.
The Constitution makes it clear that that person ceases to be a Member of Parliament.
7. The principle being protected here is that a person elected on a particular ticket either as independent or a member of one party, cannot cross over to another political party.
8. Thus Section 129(k), can only be interpreted narrowly, vis-à-vis whether a member has crossed to another party or not. Section 129(k) reads as follows:-
‘If the member has ceased to belong to the 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 President of the Senate, as the case may be , has declared that the member has ceased to belong to it’ (my underlining).
9. From the above, two things are critical.
The first denotes a situation where the member is in control, he or she voluntarily ceases to belong to the political party for which he or she was a member when elected and crosses over to another political party.
10. The second is a mere confirmation by the political party concerned.
11. The above section is only in relation and can only be interpreted narrowly to relate to a member quitting one political party by expressly joining another party. The provision cannot be interpreted widely to give the party a blank cheque of terminating membership on any other reason other than floor crossing.
12. If that was the case then the provision would be worded so differently and would simply read that “a political party can write to the Speaker to advise that a Member of Parliament is no longer a member of that particular political party”.
On the contrary the starting point is “if the member has ceased to belong to the 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 President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the member has ceased to belong to it”.
13. Thus, we anticipate a situation where the fascist clique of the MDC, would want to use another ground other than floor crossing in a purported attempt to dismiss Members of Parliament of the MDC. This is not a correct interpretation of the Constitution.
14. In any event, the MDC council on Saturday 26th of April 2014 suspended Mr Tsvangirai and his accomplices and placed the party under curatorship of the Guardian Council. Thus anyone from this purporting to act on behalf of the party will have to seek a court order to reverse the legitimate Council decisions of Saturday 26th of April 2014.
15. Moreover, Section 129(k) or (I), cannot be read without respect to the Bill of Rights for any member who has to be suspended, it must be shown in his or her case that due process as defined by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution has been respected.
16. I raise these points, as I am fully aware that the fascist faction I have referred to above has no respect of group or knowledge of the law.
Hon. Tendai Biti (MP)