Parly not responsible for recalls: Clerk

Zimbabwe National Defence University students tour the New Parliament building in Mount Hampden yesterday. - Picture: Joseph Manditswara.

PARLIAMENT is not responsible for the recalls of legislators since their withdrawal is a preserve of the political parties who sponsored their candidatures and all Parliament does is announce what the sponsoring party has written in a letter, the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda, said yesterday.

Delivering a lecture to 36 students from the Zimbabwe National Defence University after they toured the new Parliament building in Mt Hampden, Mr Chokuda spoke on the role of Parliament in national security.

The students were drawn from the country’s security services and SADC countries Botswana, Zambia, Eswatini, Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa.

His remarks follow the recalls of legislators by CCC as a result of power struggles within the opposition party.

“Some members of the public think it is Parliament that is recalling MPs. That is not correct. A member is recalled from Parliament in terms of Section 129 (K) of the Constitution. The moment their party writes to us that is when they are recalled from Parliament. What happens in Parliament when the Speaker of the National Assembly or president of the Senate makes the announcement is simply the announcing. 

“A member is already recalled the moment their party writes to Parliament. The Speaker and the Senate president will simply in terms of the Constitution, advise the President and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that the person has been recalled from Parliament. So, Parliament does not recall anyone from Parliament; it is their party, in writing. Some of the members who have been recalled have tried to come to Parliament and say, ‘my party have written to you or are going to write to you, wanting to withdraw me, can you stop the process’. 

“We can’t because that is a constitutional process, it can only be stopped by the Constitutional Court itself. So, if members do not take the processes to protect themselves, Parliament will simply implement what the Constitution says, because that’s what the Constitution says,” he said.

Mr Chokuda said when the Speaker of the National Assembly or the Senate president write to the President and ZEC notifying them about a vacancy in either of the two Houses of Parliament, they will be simply exercising their constitutional mandate and would be in violation of the Constitution if they acted otherwise.

The Constitutional Court had already ruled, in the matter between Tendai Biti vs the Speaker, that the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Senate president had no role to play in adjudicating disputes within political parties.

Meanwhile, the Commandant and Vice Chancellor of the ZNDU, Air Vice Marshall Michael Moyo, said the new Parliament building and developments carried out across the country showed Zimbabwe’s resilience despite the sanctions-induced challenges the country is facing.

“I think this is classic. It’s difficult to find words to describe it. It shows that despite the economic problems arising from the sanctions that we are going through, Zimbabwe is still able to define its  own trajectory on how to develop.

“Going forward, if you look at this Parliament building, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, the road rehabilitation from Beitbridge to Harare, I think we are still alive,” Air Vice Marshall Moyo said.

Herald

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