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Why ZAPU's Parliamentary Recalls will fail, Legally

12 Apr 2021 at 06:57hrs | Views
NewsdzeZimbabwe on Sunday reported that Iphuthile Maphosa who is the spokesperson for ZAPU announced that the party had recently taken the decision to recall former PF ZAPU members from the current parliament. The decision was taken as a result and in line with the recalls that were effected on opposition members of parliament by their parties such as the MDC-T and recently the PDP, which seconded them to parliament. The decisions of the courts which followed these recalls largely and correctly so, upheld the recalls as legal and above board. Can the same be said for the imminent ZAPU backed parliamentary recalls?

First and foremost, if a party's constitution provides so, a member of parliament may be recalled if he/she crosses the floor to another party. Then there must be three phenomena that follow; the member of parliament must be a member of that party which is recalling him/her, that party must have been the party that seconded that member of parliament and lastly, the member must have crossed the floor to another different party. The PF ZAPU prior to 1987 is no longer alive, it ceased to exist when it merged with ZANU to form ZANU PF. There was no ZANU PF before 1987, only PF ZAPU and ZANU. This is exactly the reason why whenever the likes of Khaya Moyo, Ambrose Mutinhiri, Cain Mathema et al are talked about, they are referred to as formerly PF ZAPU. This means they were members of the defunct PF ZAPU and are now members of ZANU PF. Therefore only ZANU PF, the party which holds their membership and seconded these stalwarts to parliament, may recall them, and not any other party, let alone ZAPU (2008) which they were never members of.

So if PF ZAPU merged with ZANU to form ZANU PF in 1987, what then is the status of the current ZAPU? When Dabengwa left ZANU PF in 2008 he did not revive any party, he technically formed a new party called ZAPU. The ZAPU that exists today is therefore a new party and not the PF ZAPU of prior 1987. This is exactly why the party name does not even have the PF moniker on their website, but simply ZAPU. Article 1 of its constitution denotes the name as ZAPU, not PF ZAPU. Therefore, the party that was formed by Dabengwa in 2008 does not have legal authority over members of ZANU PF in parliament. These are formerly, and not anymore since 1987, members of PF ZAPU which is now defunct since then. This is unlike the scenario of the MDC Alliance where members retained their parties but coalesced under MDC Alliance without necessarily forming a new party.

Thirdly, when PF ZAPU joined with ZANU, members from both parties became ZANU PF members and ceased to belong to either PF ZAPU or ZANU. Effectively this means neither PF ZAPU nor ZANU may recall these members in parliament, more so because these parties no longer exist legally and do not even have any member of parliament. Only the party ZANU PF may legally recall these members if they cease to be members of ZANU PF which seconded them to parliament.

It therefore, is a futile exercise for ZAPU to attempt to recall formerly PF ZAPU members whom they do not have legal authority over and have never had on their membership books. As symbolic an exercise as it might seem, this is a bad display at best especially as it will expose ZAPU's desperation for publicity and bankruptcy of political gamesmanship.  

Robert Sigauke is a Legal Manager and Political Commentator. He writes from Johannesburg. He can be reached on

Source - Robert Sigauke
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