New twist to Speaker’s position

Parliament Mr Lovemore Moyo remains a Member of Parliament.
Clerk of Parliament Mr Austin Zvo-ma yesterday said they were studying two different legal opinions that have been proffered to him following the Supreme Court’s decision nullifying Mr Moyo’s election as Speaker.
University of Zimbabwe’s chairper-son of Public Law, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, has submitted that Mr Mo-yo’s status as Matobo North legislator is automatically revived by the nulli-fication of his status as Speaker.
An earlier legal opinion was that Mr Moyo ceased being an MP because he vacated his seat when he was elected Speaker.
Said Mr Zvoma: “We have two legal opinions. Opinions are there to make a determination.
“We are studying these opinions and we will make an announcement once we are through studying the opinions proffered to us.”
In his legal opinion addressed to Attorney-General Mr Johannes Toma-na, Prof Madhuku said the Supreme Court judgment meant that the Matobo North seat could only become vacant if the incumbent legislator becomes Speaker.
“This is very clear. The vacancy is created, not by the resignation of the MP on becoming Speaker, but automa-tically by operation of law the moment the MP becomes Speaker.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that Lovemore Moyo never became a Spea-ker. Consequently, at law, the seat never became vacant.
“At law, Lovemore Moyo has always been the MP for Matobo North.”
He said had there been a by-election in Matobo North, that poll result would have been void.
“It is my further view that the Clerk of Parliament must be bound by and only act on the basis of, your (Attor-ney-General’s) views on the interpretation of the Constitution.
“It would be contrary to our constitutional edifice if the Clerk of Parliament were to proceed on such matters outside the written and public views of the Attorney-General.”
Prof Madhuku said Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, in his judgment, had noted that “no draconian consequences” would follow from a declaration of invalidity of Mr Moyo’s election as Speaker.
Jockeying for the post is understood to be underway with the three parties in Parliament trying to get their preferred candidates elected as Speaker.
MDC-T is likely to try and get Mr Moyo back in the seat.

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