HomeNewsMujuru finally loses seat

Mujuru finally loses seat

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FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has finally lost her Mt Darwin West constituency after Parliament on Tuesday wrote to President Robert Mugabe declaring the seat vacant.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
STAFF REPORTER

This completes Mujuru’s total humiliation, as just two weeks ago she was the second most powerful Zimbabwean, yet she has been reduced to an ordinary Zanu PF member with no political office and little authority.

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, said Mugabe has been notified that Mujuru and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’ seats are vacant in terms of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

“We have written to the president in terms of the Constitution and the Electoral Act,” he said in response to questions from Southern Eye.

“The Constitution says she is no longer an MP. The same applies to Mnangagwa who lost his seat after appointment to be VP.”
Mnangagwa was the legislator for Chirumanzi-Chibagwe constituency.

Mudenda, however, said he could not reveal the contents of the letter he sent to Mugabe informing him of the parliamentary vacancies.

This means by-elections in the two constituencies should be held within 90 days from Tuesday, according to the law.

Efforts to get a comment from Mujuru yesterday were fruitless, although last week she said it was too soon to comment on her future plans.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda

Were she to contest, win her seat again and take up office, she would forfeit her lifelong pension from the State, which she earned by being vice-president.

“Section 103 of the Constitution prohibits a serving or former vice-president from holding public office while they are in office or receiving a State pension,” constitutional law expert and university lecturer, Alex Magaisa, explained.

“The question is whether being an MP is a public office. A public office is defined in the Constitution Section 332 as a paid office in the service of the State.

“If an MP is regarded as a paid officer in the service of the State, then yes, she would have to forfeit her pension to hold office as MP.”

Magaisa said Mujuru could run and not lose her pension, as she could only lose it if she assumed office.

“So she might contest and lose and still retain her pension or win and lose her pension,” he said.

However, Magaisa said he did not see why Mujuru should contest elections as an MP, saying she “has had a higher station and if anything, she must be aiming to contest for the presidency”.

“It does not bolster her political stock to contest a parliamentary seat,” he said.

“She needs to be selling herself as a national leader, not as a constituency MP.”

Law experts had indicated that Parliament erred last year by not declaring Mujuru’s seat vacant to pave way for by-election, in terms of the Constitution.

Experts cite Section 129 (1) (c) of the Charter dealing with a legislators’ tenure in Parliament, indicating that a seat becomes vacant upon one member becoming a vice-president or president.

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