By Robert Tapfumaneyi
OUTSPOKEN legislators, Temba Mliswa (Independent) and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) will this week move a motion to repeal a section of the law that gives parties the right to recall Members of Parliament once they are deemed to have “rebelled” against their leadership.
Former Cabinet Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga, speaking on hers and Mliswa’s behalf, said the law has been used as a tool to cow MPs into submission and should be removed.
“We have just realised that Parliament can’t operate with that particular provision, people are scared, they are trying to protect their seats. We just have to get rid of that provision,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga told NewZimbabwe.com.
The Bulawayo Proportional Representation MP said Zimbabwe’s political playing field is replete with examples of how the law has been abused by parties across the divide.
“If you look in the past decade, the provision has even affected government operations. People are gagged, MPs can’t speak.
“And we have experiences, go back to how Didymus Mutasa (former Intelligence Minister), Tendai Biti (Harare East) and those other 21 MPs (by the MDC), even when we were expelled at the time, I was secretary general (of the Welshman Ncube led MDC). Look at the (Munyaradzi) Gwisai case, so it’s just been a horrible provision, it just has to go,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
The former National Healing Minister said she was joining forces with Norton MP, Mliswa to push for the amendment.
Section 129 of the Constitution, states a seat falls vacant if the member ceases to belong to the political party on whose ticket they were elected to Parliament.
The law adds that the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or President of the Senate can give notice that the member is no longer one of their own, paving the way for recall.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the two MPs behind the bid to amend the Constitution are hoping a secret ballot will be allowed when the issue comes to a vote.