Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
SENATE president Edna Madzongwe will relinquish her seat in the Upper House of Parliament following her elevation as presiding officer for the Chamber.Cde Madzongwe, who is also Zanu-PF Politburo member, had secured her seat from Mashonaland West Province through proportional representation as provided for by the Constitution.
But following her elevation to Senate president last week, she now has to resign as a backbencher and a replacement would be made.
Also to be replaced in the Senate would be national hero and Buhera South Senator-elect Cde Kumbirai Kangai, who died a fortnight ago.
Political parties submitted names of people, in sequence of preferences, who should become senators and their selection was determined by the number of votes a particular party got from the National Assembly in a given province.
Six senators were to come from each province and a party had to submit six names with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Zanu-PF deputy secretary for legal affairs Cde Patrick Chinamasa said no by-elections for the two parliamentary seats would be held.
“The seats will be taken up by the next persons on the party list,” he said.
“With respect to Cde Madzongwe, she will have to resign and be replaced by the next female person on the party list. The same would apply to Cde Kangai, he should be replaced by the next male person on the party list,” said Cde Chinamasa.
Cde Madzongwe was elected unopposed as president of the Senate after the revolutionary party secured a two-thirds majority in Parliament after routing the MDC-T in the July 31 2013 harmonised elections.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairperson Cde Jacob Mudenda was elected unopposed as Speaker of the National Assembly.
Cde Madzongwe would be deputised by former Cabinet Minister, Cde Chenhamo Chakezha Chimutengwende while Cde Mabel Chinomona would deputise Cde Mudenda.
Cde Chinamasa said replacements of seats for Cde Madzongwe and Cde Kangai would be done in terms of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
In terms of the law, party list seat vacancies do not necessitate by-election involving registered voters.
Instead, according to section 157(1)(c) of the Constitution, any vacancy in a party-list seat must be filled by a person belonging to the same political party, and of the same gender, as the person who previously held the seat.
This means, Cde Madzongwe’s seat must be filled by a woman who belongs to Zanu-PF, and the same should apply to Cde Kangai’s seat.
Section 39 of the Electoral Act lays down the procedure of filling party list vacancies.
The first step is that the presiding officer, either the Speaker of the National Assembly or Senate president whichever is applicable in a given case, must as soon as possible notify the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of the vacancy, in writing.
ZEC must without delay notify the public of the vacancy by notice in the Government Gazette and invite Zanu-PF to submit the name of a qualified person to fill the vacancy.
Zanu-PF must then lodge with ZEC a nomination paper, in the prescribed form and countersigned by two national office-bearers of the party, nominating a qualified person to fill the vacancy.