KIGALI - The vice Speaker of Chamber of Deputies Ambassador Denis Polisi has written to the president of National Electoral Commission (NEC) requesting his office to organise and announce the names to replace MPs Elie Ngirabankunzi and Isaie Murashi, who were withdrawn on Thursday by their party, PL.
Polisi is currently acting in the position of Speaker Alfred Mukezamfura, who is yet to resume work after he was discharged from hospital over a week ago.
On Thursday the Liberal Party (PL) president Protais Mitali wrote to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies’ notifying him that Ngirabankunzi and Murashi had been expelled from the party and thus automatically lost their parliamentary seats.
Incidentally, Mitali is the next in line on the party’s parliamentary candidates, could thus join the House should he decide to forego his ministerial post.
He is the Minister of Commerce, Trade, Tourism, Investment Promotion and Cooperatives. Next in line are Francois Udahemuka and Charles Kamanda who are said to be in private business.
But before Polisi wrote to NEC, lawyers for the fired MPs, Mbaga Tuzinde Mbonyimbuga and Floribert Karuranga, sent a letter to the Speaker of Parliament arguing that their clients cannot be replaced.
A petition seeking an injunction has been filed in the High Court and a ruling is being waited for, the lawyers said in the letter. The High Court scheduled the hearing for Wednesday.
Besides, Ngirabakunzi, Murashi together with the other expelled party officials –party president for the Southern Province, Dr Laurien Nyabyenda, Emmanuel Uwimana (first vice president for Western Province) and Emmanuel Musabyimana – have also filed a separate but related lawsuit challenging their expulsion from the party. The case is also with the High Court.
The decision to sack them from the party came after they accused Mitali, party first vice president Senator Odette Nyiramirimo and others, of rigging the hotly contested August 5 party elections.
Those accused dismissed the claims, and instead claimed that the five were attempting to split the party for personal benefits.
Meanwhile, the embattled MPs on Friday told journalists that Mitali and other PL leaders owe the party over Frw40m from the party’s account.
MPs Ngirabakunzi, who was also PL Treasurer, Murashi and the three colleagues, unleashed fresh accusations during a prompt press conference at Stip Hotel in Kiyovu, a day after they received letters expelling them from the party.
Ngirabankunzi claimed that the on-going conflict within the party is mainly caused by the debt some members of the national executive committee owe the party.
He mentioned those with debts as Mitali, his first vice deputy Odette Nyiramirimo, Henriette Mukamurangwa (party president in the Southern Province) and Evariste Kalisa, party president in Eastern Province. Ngirabankuzi said that before the August 5 party general elections the quartet was given money but failed to account for it after the polls.
“They misused party funds, and they don’t want to give explanations,” he claimed.
“Nobody is supposed to replace us from the parliament until the courts make a final ruling,” Murashi said.
He added: “Mitali has no single reason to sack us without giving explanations; we were never given chance to explain our stand.”
The two lawmakers blamed all party members for being “unjust to vote Mitali and Nyiramirimo into office when they had party’s debt.”
But when contacted yesterday, Nyiramirimo dismissed the accusations.
“We accounted for all the money we were given during election time and we handed over the reports to him (Ngirabankunzi) as a treasurer,” she said. “I am wondering why they come up with such allegations now. There must be something wrong with them,” she added.
Mitali could not be available for comment.