ZEC declares 15 MDC A PR seats vacant

ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba


Staff Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has declared as vacant 15 Proportionate Representative seats that occurred in Parliament after the MDC-T recalled the legislators.

In a Government Gazette published last week, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, said the electoral body received notification from Parliament of the 15 vacancies. “It is hereby notified that the Commission has received notices of vacancies that have occurred among the party-list members of the National Assembly and Senate,” she said in the notice. 

“The public is hereby notified, in terms of section 39(4)(a) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), that there exist vacancies in the National Assembly and Senate following the recall by MDC-T party of Honourable members on the grounds that they have ceased to be members of the MDC-T party.” 

According to the list published in the Government Gazette, those lined up for replacement with respect to the National Assembly are: Thabitha Khumalo, Virginia Zengeya, Anna Myambo, Bacillia Majaya, Machirarwa Mugidho, Francisca Ncube and Nomathemba Ndlovu.

Those who were due for replacement in the Senate are Siphiwe Ncube, Gideon Shoko, Helen Zivira, Keresencia Chabuka, Tapfumaneyi Wunganayi, Herbert Sinampande, Meliwe Phuti and Lilian Timveous.

The legislators were recalled in terms of a constitutional provision that declares seats held by members of the party that sponsored them in the last election vacant if the party writes to the Speaker of the National Assembly and Senate President to declare that the persons no longer represented that party.

In an interview yesterday, MDC-T secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora said they were proceeding to make replacements for the 15 MPs.

“We are replacing those elected under Proportionate Representative and we await guidance on those MPs that had constituencies,” he said. “There is nothing that stops us from replacing them because we have appealed against a High Court judgment which interdicted us from replacing two Senators and noting of an appeal has the effect of suspending that judgment.” 

Explaining the procedure to be followed, parliamentary watchdog Veritas said under Section 157(1)(d) of the Constitution, the vacancies did not necessitate by-elections. 

“Instead, this provision stipulates that every party list vacancy must be filled by a person belonging to the same political party as the former incumbent did and must be of the same gender, but leaves the procedure for filling vacancies to be provided in the Electoral Act,” said Veritas in its bulletin.

“Section 39(4) (of the Constitution) provides that upon being notified of vacancies in the proportional representation seats in Parliament, ZEC must notify the public of the vacancies by notice in the Gazette and, at the same time as the notice is gazetted, must invite the political party to which the former incumbents belonged to nominate suitably qualified persons to fill the vacant seats. 

“If the Chief Elections Officer is satisfied that the nomination papers are in order, ZEC will then gazette a list of the nominees and invite objections to the nominees from members of the public. Finally, in the absence of valid objections, ZEC will gazette a notice appointing the nominees as members of Parliament to fill the vacant seats.”

MDC-Alliance spokesperson Ms Fadzai Mahere did not pick calls yesterday, but has previously branded the recalling of the MPs as “unlawful, irregular, and criminal”.

But the MDC faction led by Dr Thokozani Khupe has insisted that the recalls are in line with the Supreme Court judgment that restored the party’s status of 2014, leading her to become the interim president following the demise of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.


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