As the power struggle manifests in Parliament, the political appetite among some Members of the House of Assembly to fight MP Marwick Khumalo should not legitimize the political injustice that comes through the provisions of the Elections Act of 2013.
Perhaps, before questioning the jurisdiction of Parliament to directly or indirectly debate a matter that is pending before court, it is of paramount importance to mention that any law that promotes the removal of an elected Member of Parliament without the consent of the people who voted that MP into power undermines democratic values and should be challenged.
It is part of politics for MPs to disagree and be affiliated to different factions but the basic understanding suggesting that, just like all of them Marwick Khumalo was voted into power by the people, he is representing Lobamba Lomdzala Inkhundla hence any motion or clarification that seeks to question his presence in Parliament undermines the will of the people from that Constituency.
I had on numerous occasions wrote series of critical articles questioning the abuse of Parliament by Marwick Khumalo for personal gain but then, the power to decide his political future vests with the people of Lobamba Lomdzala, the courts, Parliament or even the King should not be allowed to undermine the will of the people.
One of our basic roles of the media is to independently monitor abuse of power in the public administration and in doing so, the press is obliged to take into account the interest of the people. In this regard, it worth mentioning that subsequent to court proceedings free from any political interference, only a conviction should disqualify MP Marwick Khumalo not legal technicalities of the Elections Act.
Mduduzi ‘Bacede’ Mabuza was within his right as an MP to question the selective enforcement of the Elections Act of 2013 to disqualify a Senate candidate but it would be in the interest of the country for him to influence the amendment of the law that empowers the Executive to target any vocal MP and fabricate criminal charges with the intention of removing that legislator from power.
MPs should understand that the political injustice that comes with this law was masterminded by the late Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini to fight among others Marwick Khumalo, Robert Magongo and ex- Khubutha MP Charles Myeza, it was actually a political weapon to silence Parliament. As usual, the political strategy was to fabricate criminal charges against any MP who opposed him and subsequently influence the Judiciary to legitimize the removal of that particular MP from power. At the time, the then Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi who was booked at the Royal Villas was Barnabas’ ally, it is for this reason the Elections Act give the CJ powers to compile a report and state reasons why criminal proceedings were not concluded. To be precise, this law supports any sitting Prime Minister, in his capacity as the Minister of Police to arrest any MP who oppose him in Parliament and subsequently influence the judiciary to legitimize the removal of that Legislator.
Therefore, MPs regardless of political differences should not use a political weapon that might be used against them in the future, just to fight a fellow member of the House.
Chief Justice of Zimbabwe Luke Malaba, when delivering a judgment of the Constitutional Court in a matter where Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa was challenging the outcomes of the elections that was ‘won’ by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018 noted that elections should be decided in the ballot box not in courts. Even though the independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe remains highly questionable, the sentiments of Honorable Chief Justice Malaba suggest that the courts should not be used to undermine or interfere with the democratic right of the people to decide who should represent them in power.
It should be noted that Marwick Khumalo’s criminal case might create a precedent for political injustice hence the importance of addressing it objectively and or in the public interest.
Regardless of political differences and the interests of the various factions in Parliament, MPs should collectively vote for the amendment and or removal of Section 88(1,2,3,4) of the Elections Act and restore the integrity of the House, this section place the police above MPs and or the people they represent thus turning this country into a police State.
It should be noted that the nature of criminal charges as specified in Section 88 of the said Act that warrants the disqualification of an MP automatically gives powers to the police to wake up in the morning and accuse any vocal MP of rape, fraud and or corruption without any evidence and later withdraw the charges after the MP has been disqualified. This then suggests that any politician, businessman or individual who can capture and seize control of the police organization will automatically be above Parliament with powers to remove any MP who oppose his dealings.
Therefore, Members of Parliament should find other alternative ways to handle their tension with Marwick Khumalo, they have an option to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate if his alleged links with the Executive does not compromise or undermine the role and function of Parliament not to legitimize political injustice.
Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo