Lucia Matibenga Blocks Biti’s Parly Return

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) breakaway faction, Lucia Matibenga, has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the return of MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti and his colleagues to Parliament.

Last month, Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled Biti and five other MPs, who are part of the other PDP faction, and were recalled from Parliament should return as their recalls were unlawful.

The aggrieved MPs, who include, Kucaca Phulu, Settlement Chikwinya, Willias Madzimure, Regai Tsunga, Chelesile Mahlangu had filed a court application seeking execution of Justice Mafusire’s judgment.

They said their order for execution should be granted as the appeal before the Supreme Court did not have the power to suspend the lower court’s order.

However, according to court papers, Matibenga through her lawyer Simon Simango filed a Supreme Court appeal challenging the ruling and effectively suspending its execution.

But the affected lawmakers argue Matibenga’s appeal is invalid.

“The appeal has no merit. The appeal is an abuse of the rule of law and constitutionalism. More importantly, the appeal is an assault on democracy which is protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Furthermore, the appeal does not have the effect of suspending the order because it is an appeal against a declarator. In the circumstances, I believe we have shown a good cause for the granting of the order we seek,” reads their application.

The six MPs also argued the court should grant them an order of execution as Simango, Matibenga and Benjamin Rukanda were abusing the law and using the Supreme Court appeal to delay their reinstatement into Parliament.

They demanded the court orders Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and Parliament to comply with Justice Mafusire’s judgment and reinstate them back into Parliament.

They are also asking that the court declare the High Court order in the present case should remain operative despite any leave to appeal being granted or the successful noting of an appeal at the Supreme Court.

The matter is yet to be heard.