HARARE- Some 29 parliamentary seats now stand vacant since the formation of the coalition government although a 12-month moratorium on by-elections expired in September 2009. Assistant Clerk of Parliament Johane Gandiwa said the seats fell vacant after the incumbents died, were elevated or expelled from the House of Assembly.
“We have 17 vacant seats in the House of Assembly and 12 seats in the Senate. Eleven legislators from the House of Assembly died while political parties expelled four parliamentarians. Two others were elevated to top posts, creating the vacancies,” Gandiwa said.
In total, Zanu PF now has 16 vacant seats, eight of which are in the House of Assembly. MDC-T has eight vacancies of which four are in the House of Assembly. MDC factions headed by Professor Welshman Ncube and Professor Arthur Mutambara have now lost three legislators in the House of Assembly.
Zanu-PF now has 91 (from 99) House of Assembly representatives.
MDC-T has 96 (from 100) and the other MDCs have a total of seven (10) and it is not clear to which faction some of them belong.
In the Senate, Zanu-PF now has 22 (from 30) members, MDC-T 20 (from 24) and the MDC factions remain with six.
In total, 21 legislators have died and of these 12 belonged to Zanu PF, seven were MDC-T representatives and two were chiefs. The deaths occurred between December 2008 and January 2012.
Those who died are Zanu-PF MPs – Elliot Manyika (Bindura), C Mabharanga (Guruve North), Elphas Mushoriwa (Gokwe-Gumunyu), Charles Pemhenayi (Mutare North), Neddie Masukume (Mwenezi), Kingstone Ziteya (Shamva South) and Betty Chikava (Mount Darwin East).
MDC-T lost Cornelius Raphael Dube (Emakhandeni Entumbane), John Nyamande (Makoni Central) and Shepherd Madamombe (Tafara-Mavuku).
Among the deceased are Chando Misheck (Bindura Shamva), Richard Hove (Mberengwa) and Chiratidzo Gava (Kadoma) while MDC-T lost Patrick Kombayi (Gweru-Chirumhanzu), Jabulani Ndlovu (Hwange) and Gladys Tambudzo Dube (Mabutweni).
The Matobo North seat fell vacant after Lovemore Moyo was elected House of Assembly Speaker.
Four more constituencies were left unrepresented after MDC-N dismissed three legislators for Nkayi South, Lupane East and Bulilima East, Abednico Bhebhe, Jabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu respectively.
Zanu-PF expelled Tracy Mutinhiri (Marondera East).
Mr Gandiwa said vacancies in the Senate emerged after the death of Vice President Joseph Msika, Chief Bidi (Matabeleland South), Chief G Chimombe (Manicaland) and four Zanu-PF and three MDC-T senators and Harare Metropolitan Province Governor David Karimanzira.
Those elevated are former Chegutu MP Edna Madzongwe, who is the president of the Senate, Midlands Governor Jason Machaya (former Gokwe South MP) and Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke (former MP Chiredzi).
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network has said in its Ballot update that it was concerned by the fact that some constituencies are not able to participate in national governance through parliamentary representation.
“ZESN remains concerned about the lack of representation and urges the Government to find ways to deal with these problems. Zimbabwe is a representative Government and lack of representation prejudices these constituencies as their issues and views cannot find expression on the national agenda,” the bulletin said.
The bulletin said it was high time the Government found a solution to ensure that all Zimbabweans are represented. In 2009, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it was broke and could not afford to conduct elections. ZEC is gearing for presidential and general elections expected this year and they require US$200 million.