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Biti Says Recalling 'MDC Renewal' MPs Unconstitutional

Warring Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) faction leaders, Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai. (AP Photos/Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo)

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Renewal Team says the speaker of parliament’s hands are tied to rule on a request by the MDC formation led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to recall 21 legislators aligned to the renewal faction.

MDC Renewal Team general secretary, Tendai Biti, told a news conference in Harare on Monday that his party’s formation is not happy with plans by the Tsvangirai MDC formation to recall a total of 21 parliamentarians and senators from the two lawmaking houses.

Biti said recalling the lawmakers at a time when the MDC-T has vowed not to participate in any by-elections before key democratic reforms were implemented, was tantamount to surrendering political space to President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.

Nonetheless, Biti told reporters that the speaker of parliament cannot make a ruling on the MDC-T’s request because his hands are tied by the previous two rulings that he made last year referring the matter to the courts.

He said the MDC formation led by Mr. Tsvangirai has no legal basis to recall the legislators from parliament arguing that the former prime minister remains expelled from the opposition party following a meeting held by Biti and some senior MDCT officials at Mandel Training Centre in April last year.

But MDCT spokesperson, Obert Gutu told Studio 7 by phone that their fresh request to recall the Biti-aligned legislators from the august house was based on changed circumstances giving the speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda the right to make a ruling on the matter.

Biti also said the 21 lawmakers should not be ejected from parliament on the basis that they are now part of a new political formation calling itself the United Movement for Democratic Change (UMDC).

UMDC was formed at the beginning of this month following the merger between the Renewal Team and the MDC led by former industry minister Welshman Ncube.

Meanwhile, Mudenda is expected to pronounce his decision on Tuesday when parliament resumes sitting.

In a similar parliamentary matter, the expelled former Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymas Mutasa and expelled Hurungwe West legislator Themba Mliswa on Monday filed an urgent application in the Constitutional Court challenging their expulsion from parliament last week.

Mutasa last week filed an application in the High Court seeking to nullify the outcome of the Zanu PF’s 6th elective congress held in December last year saying it was marred by several irregularities. The matter is yet to be heard in the courts.

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