By Bruce Chahwanda Political Editor
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has clarified the process that leads to members of parliament being expelled from the August House saying it is constitutional.
Presenting a lecture at the Zimbabwe Defence University on the Parliament’s oversight role and contribution to national security, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said presiding officers do not expel legislators and senators.
“Equally, if a Member of Parliament ceases to be a member of the sponsoring political party, he or she is recalled from Parliament by that Party in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution. During the life of the Eighth and Ninth Parliament, both ZANU PF and MDC-T invoked these provisions to cause the expulsion of their Members of Parliament. More than 40 Members of Parliament fell victim to this constitutional provision and consequently by-elections, where applicable, would be held to fill up the vacancies that arose in the National Assembly and the Senate.
“Here a number of people have been saying that the speaker of parliament of president of the senate, before they read the letter of recall must find out whether that letter has merit or some demerits. It is not the responsibility of the Speaker to inquire into the merits or demerits of the letter, we follow the constitution. And an impression is given that the presiding officers expel members of parliament is misdirected,” he said.
Advocate Mudenda said sound laws on their own are not enough to guarantee national security.
“At strategic levels, there is a need to match the laws and strategic operational plans with the requisite financial resources to enable the realisation of the national security vision and mission. In this regard, section 305 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe allocates exclusive powers to Parliament to appropriate resources for deployment to various state institutions. Equally, Parliament itself must be well resourced in order to exercise robust oversight over all state institutions and agencies in the interest of national security,” he said.
He urged security institutions to maintain a high degree of vigilance to guarantee national security.