Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has asked the two chambers of parliament not to accept the expulsion of five legislators by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation headed by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.
The party announced Monday that it had kicked out lawmakers Maxwell Dube, Dalumuzi Khumalo, Kembo Dube, Nomalanga Khumalo and Thandeko Zinti Mkandla for supporting the rival faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mutambara, who still claims leadership of the MDC, sent out letters Tuesday to House Speaker Lovemore Moyo and Senate President Edna Madzongwe urging them to ignore requests by Ncube's party to have the expelled Members of Parliament and senators withdrawn from parliament.
But the MDC says it has not yet notified parliament of the expulsions, adding that it will do so at an appropriate time.
Mutambara's letter to Madzongwe and Moyo read in part: "This note serves to ask you to disregard this illegal communication based on illegitimate actions."
He argued that he was still challenging Ncube's leadership of the MDC in the Supreme Court. And for that reason, Mutambara said, Ncube has no authority to fire anyone.
"These legislators were elected under my leadership of the MDC. Both the issue of whether Welshman Ncube was duly elected president of the MDC in January 2011, and the matter of the legitimacy of the corresponding MDC congress are before the Supreme Court ... Consequently, all these issues are subjudice," he said.
Mutambara spokesman Morgan Changamire told VOA Studio 7 that they were confident the court will rule in their favor.
"These people have said a long time ago that they do not belong to his party. How then can you expel people who are not members of your party? All these MPs are with Mutambara," said Changamire.
Interview With Morgan Changamire
But Ncube MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube differed, saying Mutambara was wasting his time.
"Mutambara has been told by the High Court twice that he should stop masquerading as the leader of the MDC," Dube said.
"What he has done is null and void because he does not make decisions for our party. He can continue to please himself in political foolishness, it is not our space to stop him, it is his democratic right to decide what manner of foolishness he wants to undertake."
Interview With Nhlanhla Dube