HIGH Court judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou, on Wednesday reserved judgment in a case in which three MPs from the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC are seeking an interim order preventing their expulsion from both the party and imminent ejection from parliament.
Ndou said he needed time to pore over submissions made by the lawmakers – Abedinico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu – and the respondents, MDC-M national disciplinary chairperson Lyson Mlambo, the party, House of Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma.
The three MPs and Alex Goosen, a member of the MDC-M national executive council, were recently expelled from the party on allegations of “indiscipline and disrespecting the party leadership”.
Lawyer Joseph James representing Mlambo asked the court to dismiss the application arguing that it was not urgent because the MPs and Goosen had already been axed from the party.
“The matter is not urgent. The applicants have already been expelled from respondent 2 (MDC-M) and struck from the register,” James argued. “The first three applicants (Bhebhe, Mguni and Mpofu) are no longer members of parliament.”
James further argued that the quartet had “not exhausted their domestic remedies (in the MDC-M)”.
ButÂ Thamsanqa Khumalo representing the quartet said the interim relief being sought by his clients was to stop their expulsion not only from the party, but also from parliament.
“It is submitted that the applicants have made out a case for interdict sought and accordingly pray for the granting of the same,” Khumalo said.
The MDC-M accused Bhebhe, Mguni, Mpofu and Goosen of addressing meetings in their constituencies attacking the party leadership at the same time urging party members to join the MDC-T faction.
This led to a disciplinary hearing in July from which the quartet stormed out accusing the party of failing to lay specific charges against them.
After their dismissal from the party, MDC-M Secretary-General Welshman Ncube advised Moyo that Bhebhe, Mguni and Mpofu were no longer their party members and should declare their seats vacant to pave way for by-elections.
Ncube said pending the holding of by-elections, the three MPs should be ejected from parliament, or stopped from attending parliamentary sessions under the party name.
The move leaves the MDC formation with seven MPs and six senators in the House of Assembly and the Senate.
This prompted the lawmakers to approach the High Court.
In their application last Thursday,Â the legislators sought to be granted an order staying and suspending their expulsion from the party and also stopping parliament from declaring their seats vacant.
The three MPs have continued to attend parliamentary sessions, including chairing portfolio committees.
Two other MPs who were summoned to the disciplinary hearing, Maxwell Dube of Tsholotsho South and Thandeko Zinti Mkandla of Gwanda North, escaped with warnings.
The hearing of the other suspended members,Â Job Sikhala, a member of the national executive and Gift Nyandoro, the chairman of the youth assembly, are still to be convened.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE