HARARE, WASHINGTONDC —
The Speaker of the House of Assembly on Thursday declared the Bikita West seat vacant after lawmaker Munyaradzi Kereke, who won the seat on a Zanu-PF ticket, was expelled for refusing to step aside for the party’s favourite candidate, Elias Musakwa, in the July 31st general election.
In an announcement at the start of business in the House of Assembly on Thursday afternoon, Speaker Jacob Mudenda said Bikita West is now vacant as Kereke is no longer representing the party’s interests.
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, wrote to the speaker advising him that Kereke is no longer a Zanu-PF member.
According to Section 129 of the Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member ceases to belong to a political party of which he or she was a member when elected to parliament.
The constitution also states that the seat of a Member of Parliament falls vacant if a member has been convicted of an offence under the electoral law and has been declared by the High Court to be disqualified for registration as a voter or from voting in any election.
Kereke, who was once an advisor of central bank governor Gideon Gono, was not in the chamber when the speaker made the announcement.
He beat Musakwa and MDC-T’s Heya Shoko in the July harmonized elections. A by-election will now be held at a date to be fixed by President Robert Mugabe.
Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the Bikita West lawmaker fired himself from the party when he insisted to stand on a Zanu-PF ticket.
Gumbo said the party’s top decision-making body, the Politiburo, was only reiterating its July move to expel Kereke.
Meanwhile, Mudenda has warned MDC-T lawmakers that they will be censured for violating National Assembly standing rules and orders after they stood up when their leader of the house, Thokozani Khupe, entered the august house on Wednesday.
He said Khupe did not respect him either.
Standing Order Number 81 stipulates that lawmakers can only rise from their seats when the speaker or any other presiding officer and the president enter the House of Assembly.
Mudenda warned the MDC-T lawmakers against provoking him, saying they will face the music if they misbehave.