THE Constitutional Court (Concourt) yesterday declared the expulsion of Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke from the National Assembly as illegal and ordered his immediate reinstatement.
The full nine-member bench granted the consent reached by lawyers representing Kereke, Zanu PF, the National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in an out-of-court settlement allowing him to remain Bikita West MP.
“The termination of the membership of Parliament of the applicant by the first respondent dated October 3 is null and void and is hereby set aside,” Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled.
“The applicant is a member of the National Assembly.”
Speaking after the Concourt ruling, a relieved Kereke said he was still ready to work with Zanu PF as it was the only party capable of carrying Zimbabwe into the future.
“We are working things out with Zanu PF,” said Kereke.
“There is no loser in this matter and there is no winner. It really was a matter of establishing equilibrium as engraved in the Constitution of the country. Let’s move forward and work for our motherland. I’m going to Parliament to check for my mail in my pigeon hole.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo on Tuesday said he was still consulting with the party to make a clear pronouncement on Kereke’s fate.
“I cannot comment on that. We are still consulting on the way forward,” Gumbo said.
Kereke had taken Zanu PF to court after the party had disowned him by writing to clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma asking him to declare the seat vacant.
Zanu PF accused Kereke of defying party directives compelling him to stand down and allow its preferred candidate Elias Musakwa to contest the Bikita West seat on the party’s ticket.
In its letter to Zvoma, Zanu PF argued that it did not recognise Kereke as its MP.
But Kereke approached the Concourt challenging his dismissal on the basis that he could not be expelled twice as he ceased to be a Zanu PF member on July 10, long before he was elected on July 31.
He argued that the section both Zanu PF and Zvoma had wanted to use to expel him from Parliament did not apply to his situation.
Despite making an about turn and settling for an out of court settlement allowing Kereke to retain his seat in the National Assembly as Bikia West MP, Zanu PF is continuing with disciplinary measures against its suspended Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke, who signed the former’s nomination letters in contravention of the party’s directives.
Matuke and his executive defied instructions by the party hierarchy to block Kereke from representing Zanu PF by signing his nomination papers.
He was suspended together with the party’s provincial secretary for administration Edmund Mhere.
Matuke, who is also the Gutu Central MP, appeared before a party disciplinary committee on Monday last week and is still awaiting the outcome of the hearing, which he said should be out after this weekend’s internal provincial elections.
Matuke’s suspension rules him out of the chairmanship’s race which he had indicated he would contest before he was suspended.
Matuke told Southern Eye yesterday that he was not going to appeal his suspension, but will wait for the party’s disciplinary process to take its course.
“I will wait for the party to complete its disciplinary process,” he said.
“I have since appeared for a disciplinary hearing on Monday last week, but the ruling will come out after the provincial elections. I am not a greedy and power-hungry man.”
Mhere could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was unreachable.
Matuke said his hands are clean and insisted that the decision to sign nomination papers for Kereke was not his, but that of the provincial co-ordinating committee.
Sources said more heads were likely to roll in the party over the Kereke debacle.