Death of MPs affects constituencies

More than 10 constituencies are currently without parliamentary representation following the deaths of their MPs since the beginning of the Government of National Unity in 2009, leaving the communities further marginalized.

A clause in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which sets up the Government of National Unity (GNU), reads: “The parties hereby agree that for a period of 12 months from the date of the signing of this agreement, should any vacancy arise in respect of a local authority or parliamentary seat for whatever reason, only the party holding the seat prior to the vacancy occurring shall be entitled to nominate and field a candidate to fill the seat subject to that party complying with the rules governing its internal democracy”.

However, the 12 months have lapsed and MPs have either died or, like Jonathan Moyo, joined another political party and the parties in the inclusive government have done nothing about the vacancies.

Recently the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T lost Eliphas Mukonoweshuro MP for Gutu South, bringing the number of the party’s deceased House of Assembly representatives to four. At the burial of Mukonoweshuro people from his constituency said that they had been orphaned as they have been left with no representation.

Respected election watchdog Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said in a statement constitution that have lost MPs face continued marginalization.

“ZESN notes with concern that the moratorium on by-elections for deceased members of Parliament has adverse consequences for representation of the electorate. The moratorium on by-elections has resulted in some constituencies without representation thereby creating their marginalization.

It is important to begin thinking of mechanisms to ensure these constituencies are represented in Parliament and that their interests are taken into account,” said the election watchdog.

Innocent Gonese, the MDC-T chief whip, said that the death of Mukonoweshuro was a great loss to the party as the numbers in Parliament have been deflated.

Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said that the issue of MPs deaths in his party was not for him to discuss, but the principals. “Whether there elections or not that is determined by the principals,” said Gumbo.

In 2010 June the MDC lost Mabvuku MP, Shepherd Madamombe. Cornelius Dube MP for Entumbane passed away in August 2009 and in November 2009 the party lost Makoni Central MP John Nyamande in a car accident.

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