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Court Rules Kereke Remains Bikita West MP

Munyaradzi Kereke
The Constitutional Court has nullified the expulsion of lawmaker Munyaradzi Kereke from the House of Assembly, effectively ruling out a by-election in Bikita West which was being targeted by the MDC formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T).

The court endorsed the agreement reached Tuesday by lawyers representing Mr. Kereke and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and those representing President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, which expelled Kereke for defying orders to bow out in favor of the party’s preferred candidate, Elias Musakwa.

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, declared the Bikita-West seat vacant after Zanu-PF’s secretary for administration, Didymas Mutasa, wrote to him advising that Kereke had been expelled from the party.

Today’s decision means that Kereke will remain the Member of Parliament for Bikita West.

Kereke’s attorney, advocate Lewis Uriri, said the Speaker of Parliament erred when he declared the Bikita West seat vacant, as Kereke had satisfied all requirements to be a candidate in the July 31st national elections.

Kereke, whose Zanu-PF candidature was accepted by the nomination court, went on to beat the party’s sponsored candidate, Musakwa, and Heya Shoko of the MDC-T.

Other political parties, including the newly formed National Constitutional Assembly, had already started preparing for the Bikita West by-election.

Uriri said Kereke, despite his expulsion, will work with Zanu-PF.

Studio 7 tried but was unable to reach Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo to get a reaction over the Constitutional Court decision.

Other Zanu-PF officials are being affected by the Kereke row. Last week Zanu-PF suspended its chairperson for Masvingo province, Lovemore Matuke, for allegedly defying a party directive not to sign Kereke’s nomination papers allowing Kareke to contest the Bikita West seat.

Other Court News

The High Court on Wednesday freed jazz singer Duduzile Tracey Manhenga on bail pending appeal. The musician was jailed for 18 months after she pleaded guilty to knocking down and killing a cyclist in Harare’s Mabelreign suburb in 2010. Manhenga had been driving without a license.

Manhenga was ordered to surrender her travel documents, report once per week to Avondale police and continue to reside at the given address until the matter was finalised.

Manhenga was sentenced to a 24-month jail term by a Harare magistrate but six months of the sentence were set aside on condition that she does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.

The musician, who possessed a provisional driver’s license at the time of the accident, was also fined US$300 and three months in prison for driving without supervision.

An additional six-month jail term was wholly suspended on condition that she does not drive without supervision in the next five years.