Home » General » After Backing Biti, Can Speaker Oust Mutasa?

SPEAKER of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda walks a tight rope after he was called to make a difficult decision on ousted Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s membership status in the august house.

Following his expulsion from Zanu PF two weeks ago, Mutasa’s successor Ignatius Chombo formally wrote to Mudenda this past week seeking his further expulsion from parliament.

But the former security minister threw the proverbial cat among the pigeons by boldly writing to Mudenda affirming his position as a bona fide Zanu PF member.

Legal experts say his case is a carbon copy of the MDC-T’s attempts May last year to seek the parliamentary expulsion of its secretary general Tendai Biti and a group of party MPs with whom he broke ranks with the opposition party over some differences with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mudenda, in his response, distanced himself from the MDC-T feud, referring the parties to courts of law.

“In any case,” Mudenda said then, “neither the Honourable President of the Senate nor the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly has any authority and role to play in the internal disciplinary actions, disputes or differences within political parties, which matters may be appropriately dealt with by a competent court.”

Mudenda is still haunted by the decision with Harare lawyer Chris Mhike saying the Speaker might be tempted to deliver a political as opposed to a legal verdict.

“Given the political sensitivity of the matter at hand, l fear that the Speaker will probably do a politically expedient thing which is to go the way which is favourable to the party that appointed him to that position,” said Mhike in an interview with Newzimbabwe.com weekend.

Mutasa, in his case, is adamant the Zanu PF elective congress which saw the summary dismissal of party politicians linked to former Vice president Joice Mujuru was illegal and as such, incapable of producing genuine leaders who could sit to determine his status in Zanu PF.

He is however, yet to approach the courts for a determination over the matter.

Mhike said the difference between the two cases was that Mutasa, expelled together with his nephew Temba Mliswa, was in fact a lone ranger in his bid to keep his seat while the Biti group tried to camouflage their case with a semblance of due process.

Before the fall-out with the mainstream MDC, Biti and his group assembled a “national council” meeting which resolved to expel party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his top leadership for a number of alleged offences against the party.

“When Biti and his group wrote to the Speaker, they were writing as a unit and claiming they were the legitimate MDC,” said Mhike, who has handled many political challenges on behalf of the opposition and civil society activists.

“Mutasa does not seem to be basing his sentiments on a particular resolution or a decision that was made by a group calling itself Zanu PF. That is the slight difference.”

He continued: “Essentially, the similarity would be in that, in both situations, the legitimacy of the other faction is being challenged.

“The difference is that Mudenda was seconded to that position by a political party and, l think, he would be under pressure to show allegiance to whoever appointed him unlike the Biti scenario.”

Another law expert who refused to be named for fear of jeopardising his current political ambitions also confirmed the Biti and Mutasa scenarios were similar.

“You do not even need to call an expert to see that the two cases are similar,” he said.

“It’s like phoning me asking if a red car that you would be seeing is similar to another red car.”

Source : New Zimbabwe