The Constitutional Court says an application filed by 14 members of the Movement for Democratic Change Renewal Team challenging their expulsion from parliament should be heard on an urgent basis.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled Tuesday that the application filed by MDC Renewal Team secretary general Tendai Biti and 13 others challenging their expulsion should be heard urgently because President Robert Mugabe has already proclaimed the date of by-elections in constituencies that were represented by the applicants in the august house.
In a notice published in the government gazette on Friday, President Mugabe announced that the nomination court will sit on April 16th while by-elections in the affected constituencies would be held on June 10th.
In view of this, the chief justice said the application to set aside Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda’s ruling expelling Biti and his colleagues, should be heard on April 14th before the nomination court sits two days later.
Lawyers representing Mudenda also consented that the matter was urgent.
The expulsion of the MDC Renewal Team members from parliament followed a request by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC formation, which argued that Biti and his colleagues were no longer representing the interests of their party.
This followed in-house squabbles last year that resulted in Biti leading a group of senior MDC-T officials in breaking away from the main opposition party.
Subsequently, Biti and his team suspended Tsvangirai and the opposition’s national chairperson Lovemore Moyo but the Tsvangirai camp re-grouped and instead expelled Biti from the party.
In papers filed in the courts, Biti and others contend that there is a leadership dispute in the MDC-T and this was a matter that should have been dealt with by the courts and not by the speaker of parliament.
Meanwhile, the application filed by former Zanu PF secretary for administration and Headlands legislator Didymas Mutasa and former Hurungwe West parliamentarian Temba Mliswa challenging their expulsion from parliament, is set to be heard Wednesday.
Mudenda expelled Mutasa and Mliswa from parliament following a written request by Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo. Both Mutasa and Mliswa have since been expelled from Zanu PF for allegedly bringing the name of the party into disrepute.
However, Mutasa insists that no one in Zanu PF has the right to expel him as he does not recognize the new leadership following the ruling party’s congress held last December.