SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has said the Political Parties Finance Act, the Electoral Act and Constitution have deficiencies as they do not effectively deal with political squabbles such as those between the two MDC formations.
Currently, the MDC-T and the MDC Alliance are embroiled in a fight for the party name, where MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora is angling to use Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance party name during elections.
In May, government extended $7,5 million which was due to the MDC Alliance under the Political Parties (Finances) Act to the MDC-T which only managed to garner two seats on proportional representation in the 2018 elections.
“The case of MDC formations contestations is in part a result of our definition of a political party in the Constitution. Our Constitution merely defines a political party as a political organisation. We cannot clearly say whether the MDC Alliance is a political party,” Mudenda said at the weekend in Kariba while addressing a workshop by the Parliamentary Legal Committee and the Law Development Commission on legislative review.
“There is a lot of work which needs to be ironed out there. South Africa has done a great deal in dealing with such matters. Their supreme law of the land, their Constitution, has tried in a way to provide a better definition in terms of having a party constitution and a physical address. That avoids parties that come on board, say six months before an election and we recognise those as a political party. It causes some fly-by-night parties to come into existence,” he said.
Mudenda said section 129(1)(k) on recalls of MPs from Parliament was another mess which needed to be attended to. “There are lots of court cases as a result. Suffice to mention, the constitution of a political party must comply with the supreme law,” he said.
On the issue of gender parity in political parties, Mudenda said: “If I had the power, I would say any party that does not have gender parity in their constitution would not be registered, neither will it be recognised. As Speaker of the House, I chair and reserve my personal opinion on these things. I would not allow a party that does not allow gender parity at all. I expect committees to deal with these issues.”
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