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Current voting strengths in Parliament
Veritas
July 31, 2009

2008 House of Assembly & Senate details

Current Voting Strength

First we have given the numbers each party was entitled to based on election results. Then the current voting strengths allowing for gains from extra seats allocated by the GPA/Amendment No.19, less vacancies and suspensions which have occurred since then. (A full explanation of these gains and losses is given in following sections.) Then we have given projected numbers which the party strengths could fall to within the next few months. (Again fuller explanations in following sections.) Projected voting strengths have not taken into account any possible results of by-elections – this would be too speculative as to both timing and results.

House of Assembly

MDC-T

100 after elections

97 now (2 seats gained from GPA minus 1 vacancy (Speaker’s seat) and minus 4 suspended members who can’t vote)

[87 Projected – Minus 10 (7 at risk from suspensions plus 3 from MPs appointed as governors)]

MDC-M

10 after elections

11 now (1 seat gained from GPA)

[8 Projected – Minus 3 (if their 3 expelled MPs lose their seats)]

ZANU-PF 95 seats

99 (Only 98 were sworn in, as Eprem Mushoriwa who won the Gokwe-Gumunyu seat died before the swearing in)

95 now (1seat gained from GPA but this has not been filled (this is a nominated seat and could be filled at any time) minus 4 deaths)

[94 Projected – 2 at risk from suspensions but 1 GPA extra seat still to be filled]

Independent 1 seat

Senate

MDC-T

24 after elections

27 now (gained 4 nominated Senators from GPA, less 1 death (Senator Kombayi))

[31 Projected – 1at risk from a suspension but 5 gained from appointed governors]

MDC-M

6 after elections

8 now (gained 2 nominated Senators from GPA)

[9 Projected – with 1 gained from appointed governor]

ZANU-PF

63 after elections and appointments

30 Elected

5 Appointed by the President

10 Governors

18 Chiefs

59 now (gained 1 nominated seat from GPA for VP (but this is not yet filled) less 3 constituency seat vacancies (1 for Senate President’s former seat, and 2 for Provincial Governors’ former seats) and 1 death (Chief Bidi))

(55 Projected – plus 2 from filling vacant GPA nominated seat and from replacing the Chief and minus 6 from loss of 6 Governors)

These figures do not include the Attorney General – he is an ex officio non-voting member of both Houses – i.e. he has the right to sit and speak in both Houses but he has no vote. All other members of Parliament are voting members – whether elected, appointed, nominated, ex officio, constituency or non-constituency, chiefs or provincial governors.

ZANU-PF figures in the Senate include the Chiefs, who have traditionally voted with ZANU-PF. For the combined MDCs to have a marginal majority in the Senate now, 13 Chiefs would have to sever their allegiance to ZANU-PF and vote with the MDCs. (Working on projected voting strengths 8 Chiefs would have to vote with the MDCs to give them a marginal majority.)


How these changes came about: Extra Seats Provided for by the GPA/Constitution Amendment No.19

  • 5 for Members of Top Executive in new Inclusive Government
  • 2 for the 2 Vice-Presidents
  • 1 for the Prime Minister
  • 2 for the 2 Deputy Prime Ministers

The GPA/Amendment No.19 provides that all these five seats will be extra ex officio (with vote) seats in the House of Assembly, but then goes on to provide that if any of the top executive already have seats in Parliament they keep those seats but their party can nominate a person to a non-constituency seat in the relevant House.

  • 6 Senate Seats to balance the 5 ZANU-PF Presidential Appointed Senators
  • 4 seats in the Senate to be nominated by MDC-T
  • 2 seats in the Senate to be nominated by MDC-M


Distribution of GPA seats Per Party and Per House

House of Assembly
  • 2 MDC-T – 1 seat for PM Tsvangirai and 1 nominated non-constituency seat as DPM Khupe already had an elected constituency seat which she keeps (This nominated non-constituency seat has been filled by Minister Gorden Moyo)
  • 1 MDC-M seat for DPM Mutambara
  • 1 ZANU-PF nominated non-constituency seat, as VP Mujuru already had an elected constituency seat in the House of Assembly which she keep (This nominated non-constituency seat is still vacant)
Senate
  • 4 MDC-T nominated non-constituency seats (1 went to Deputy Minister Tichaona Mudzingwa, 1 to Deputy Minister Sesel Zvidzai, 1 to Deputy Minister Roy Bennett and 1 to Morgan Komichi)
  • 2 MDC-M nominated non-constituency seats (1 went to Minister Welshman Ncube, 1 to Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga)
  • 1 ZANU-PF nominated non-constituency seat as VP Msika already had an appointed Senate seat. (This nominated non-constituency seat is still vacant)
  • But these gains must be balanced against seats that have become vacant (12)


Seats Vacant at 31st July 2009

House of Assembly – 6
  • 1 to replace the Speaker Lovemore Moyo – constituency seat Matobo North, Matabeleland South
  • 1 ZANU-PF nominated seat – still vacant (allocated by the GPA in lieu of Vice-President Mujuru’s seat)
  • 4 Deaths (all constituency seats)
    • Ephrem Mushoriwa (ZANU-PF) Gokwe-Gumunyu, Midlands, died before swearing-in (see above)
    • Cletus Mabaranga (ZANU-PF) Guruve North, Mashonaland Central, died after swearing-in
    • Elliot Manyika (ZANU-PF) Bindura North, Mashonaland Central, died after swearing-in
    • Charles Pemhenayi .(ZANU-PF) Mutare North, Manicaland (recent death)
Senate – 6
  • 1 to replace Senate President Edna Madzongwe (ZANU-PF), constituency seat Chegutu, Mashonaland West
  • 2 constituency seats freed up by Governors – Titus Maluleke (ZANU-PF) Chiredzi, Masvingo, and Jaison Machaya (ZANU-PF) Gokwe South, Midlands, who both had seats and then took up Governors’ ex officio seats
  • 1 ZANU-PF nominated seat that is yet to be filled (allocated by the GPA in lieu of Vice-President Msika’s seat)
  • 2 Deaths 1 Patrick Kombayi MDC-T constituency seat Gweru-Chirumanzu, Midlands (recent death)
  • 1 elected Chief, Chief Bidi from Matabeleland South (recent death)

As well as these vacancies, a number of MPs have been suspended

House of Assembly – 4 (all MDC-T – following convictions and imposition of sentences of 6 months or more)

  • Matthias Mlambo, Chipinge East, Manicaland convicted of inciting public violence – sentenced to 10 months in prison
  • Meki Makuyana, Chipinge South, Manicaland convicted of kidnapping a minor – sentenced to 12 months in prison
  • Shuah Mudiwa, Mutare West, Manicaland convicted of kidnapping a minor – sentenced to 7 years in prison
  • Ernest Mudavanhu, Zaka North, Masvingo (the most recent case) convicted on charges of abusing subsidised farming inputs – sentenced to 12 months in prison

Senate – none

Some press reports have caused confusion by saying that there have been either five or six suspensions. This is probably caused by the fact that other MPs have been convicted. But unless they receive a sentence of over 6 months they are not suspended.

The suspended MPs have appealed against their convictions and sentences. Only if these are successful will their suspensions be lifted (the fact of appeal does not alter the suspension). Mlambo has appealed to the High Court against his suspension; the case has been heard, but judgement reserved.

Lynette Karenyi, MDC-T MP, Chimanimani West, Manicaland, was convicted in January of forgery of a signature on her nomination paper, fined and given a suspended 20 day prison sentence. This sentence does not result in her automatic suspension from Parliament, but the magistrate declared her seat forfeit, which was outside his jurisdiction, and his declaration has been rejected by Parliament. Ms Karenyi has appealed against her conviction and sentence in order to clear her name, but in the meantime her defeated opponent in the March 2008 poll has instituted High Court proceedings to unseat her.


More changes in voiting strengths in the near future? Changes likely to occur through appointment of provincial Governors

If the Governorships are redistributed in early September as proposed, it will result in further party gains and losses:

Gains and Losses in Senate

MDC-T would gain 5 in the Senate – candidates have already been named – Lucia Matibenga, Tose Sansole, Seiso Moyo, James Makore and Julius Magaramombe.

ZANU-PF would lose 6 seats in the Senate – the outgoing governors are likely to be David Karimanzira (Harare), Cain Mathema (Bulawayo), Angeline Masuku (Matabeleland South), Thokozile Mathuthu (Matabeleland North), Christopher Mushowe (Manicaland) and Titus Maluleke (Masvingo)

MDC-M would gain 1 in the Senate (candidate not yet named)

Losses in the House of Assembly

MDC-T would have 3 vacant seats if they appoint Matibenga, Sansole and Moyo as Governors, as they are all MPs (for Kuwadzana, Harare; Hwange East, Matabeleland North; and Nketa, Bulawayo, respectively)

Risk of Further Suspensions

A further 8 MDC-T members of Parliament (1 Senator, 7 members of the House of Assembly) are facing charges carrying potential prison sentences in excess of 6 months – which would mean suspension from Parliament:

  • Roy Bennett, nominated Senator – on a charge of possession of arms, on bail and awaiting trial
  • Blessing Chebundo, Kwekwe Central on a charge of rape – on bail and awaiting trial;
  • Trevor Saruwaka, Mutasa Central, on a violence charge– on bail and awaiting judgment

And 5 on agricultural inputs scam charges for abusing subsidised farming inputs, similar to those on which Ernest Mudavanhu was convicted and sentenced to 12 months in prison. They are all 5 on bail awaiting judgment:

  • Hamandishe Maramwidze, Gutu North;
  • Heya Shoko, Bikita West, Masvingo;
  • Edmore Marima, Bikita East, Masvingo;
  • Tachiona Mharadza, Masvingo West, Masvingo;
  • Evelyn Masaiti, Dzivaresekwa, Harare.

(Ransome Makamure, charged for the same offence, was acquitted and he is not included in the figures.)

Two ZANU-PF members of the House of Assembly are also facing inputs scam charges:

  • Tranos Huruba, Chivi North, Masvingo and
  • Ivene Dzingirayi, Chivi South, Masvingo.

This week 2 more MDC-T MPs were picked up by police:

  • Thamsanqa Mahlangu MP, Nkulumane and
  • Stewart Garadhi, MP, Chinhoyi.

They are not included in the “at risk” figures as Mahlangu, though in remand prison awaiting trial, is not likely to be facing a sentence of more that 6 months, and Garadhi was released without charge.

Potential Expulsion of MDC-M MPs from Their Party

The MDC-M’s Secretary-General, Welshman Ncube, has notified the Speaker of the House of Assembly that the 3 MPs:

  • Abednico Bhebhe, Nkayi South,
  • Njabuliso Mguni, Lupane East and
  • Norman Mpofu, Bulilima East,

who were recently expelled from the party, are no longer representing the party and that they must cease being MPs (which a party may do under section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution). The Speaker is studying the legal implications of the 3 having applied to the High Court in Bulawayo for the setting aside of their expulsions as unprocedural and invalid.


Seats due for by-elections

There are 12 vacancies and 10 of these have to be filled by by-elections. (The other 2 vacancies are to be filled by nomination by ZANU-PF – 1 in the Senate and 1 in the House of Assembly). Of the 10 by-elections, 1 is for a chief who will be elected by the Matabeleland South Provincial Assembly of Chiefs. This leaves 9 constituency by-elections, as follows:

House of Assembly
  • Matobo North, Matabeleland South (ex Lovemore Moyo, MDC-T)
  • Gokwe-Gumunyu, Midlands (ex Ephrem Mushoriwa, ZANU-PF)
  • Guruve North, Mashonaland Central (ex Cletus Mabaranga, ZANU-PF)
  • Bindura North, Mashonaland Central (ex Elliot Manyika, ZANU-PF)
  • Mutare North, Manicaland (ex Charles Pemhenayi, ZANU-PF)
Senate
  • Chegutu, Mashonaland West (ex Edna Madzongwe, ZANU-PF)
  • Gweru-Chirumanzu, Midlands (ex Patrick Kombayi, MDC-T)
  • Chiredzi, Masvingo (ex Titus Maluleke, ZANU-PF)
  • Gokwe South, Midlands (ex Jaison Machaya, ZANU-PF)


Possible Further By-Elections

If the 4 suspended MPs who have appealed against their convictions and sentences lose their appeals, they will lose their Parliamentary seats and the vacancies will have to be filled by by-elections.

If MDC-T appoint 3 Governors from the House of Assembly (see above), this will mean 3 more by-elections.

If the 3 MDC-M MPs are expelled from Parliament (see above), this will mean 3 more by-elections.


Comment

In the case of the 4 suspended MPs, whether or not there will be by-elections is dependent on the result of court cases. The other potential by-elections are still within the control of both the MDCs. In the context of the MDCs potentially losing their combined majority, as it is, it seems unwise to risk these extra by-elections. Matabeleland seats have been considered safe MDC seats, but with the re-emergence of ZAPU and its increasing membership this could change. Also, with the evidence of increased violence and setting up of new youth militia bases, other constituency seats which may have been regarded as safe may be subjected to violence and intimidation.

It is also strange that MDC has not been pushing for by-elections for at least the present 9 constituency vacancies to take place before 15th September, when the GPA agreement that the three parties will not stand against each other falls away. They are cutting it very fine - even if by-elections are gazetted immediately it will be difficult to complete them before the 15th September. (Under the Electoral Act at least 5 weeks must elapse between gazetting of the notice calling a by-election and polling day – 2 weeks for nominations, 3 weeks for ZEC preparation and campaigning by candidates.)

*Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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