Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Zimbabwe People First founding members Messrs Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo yesterday chickened out and withdrew the High Court application in which they were contesting their expulsion from the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Mutasa and Gumbo, who were last year expelled from Zanu-PF for allegedly trying to topple President Mugabe, will now pay legal costs incurred by President Mugabe and Zanu-PF in defending the now aborted court application.
The duo was seeking to nullify the ruling party’s 2014 congress and the amendments made to the revolutionary party’s constitution.
They argued that the December 2014 congress was a nullity and that it was held in breach of the party’s constitution.
The pair also sought nullification of the constitutional amendments made and adopted at the congress.
The notice of withdrawal was filed yesterday morning at the High Court by the duo’s lawyers Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni.
The notice reads:
“Take notice that the applicants hereby withdraw their application against the respondents. The primary reason for the withdrawal is that, the matter has been overtaken by events.
“Further, take notice that the applicants hereby tender the respondents’ wasted costs on an ordinary scale.”
The two argued that the removal of some party members from the Central Committee and any refusal of others from contesting for the same positions in 2014 was in breach of both the party’s constitution and the supreme law of the country. It was the pair’s argument that failure by the party to hold elections for the positions of Vice President, second secretaries and the national chairperson was unlawful and in violation of Zanu-PF’s constitution.
Mutasa and Gumbo argued that the congress was not free and fair. The duo also argued that all votes of no confidence passed against various party structures and individuals between October and December 2014 are inconsistent with Section 68 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The withdrawal of the application followed a recent report that the two were still fighting to be accepted back into the ruling party despite being founding members of a new political outfit, led by Dr Joice Mujuru.
Despite the fact that ZPF had notified the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of its existence ahead of the 2018 elections, the two politicians’ lawyers asked the court to set the matter down for hearing.
The request for a hearing date in the matter was filed at the High Court last month after all the parties had filed heads of argument.
In the heads of argument filed last month by Zanu-PF and President Mugabe’s lawyer in the matter, Mr Terrence Hussein of Hussein Ranchhod and Company, the issue of the two forming ZPF was raised with the ruling party seeking the dismissal of the application.
Part of the heads read:
“In any event, as pointed out earlier, of their own volition they have decided to formally disassociate themselves from Zanu-PF and voluntarily associate themselves with another political organisation known as the “People First”.
“As seasoned political actors, they are clearly aware within their field of expertise, that it is implausible to be a member of two political parties at the same time,” read the heads.
Mr Hussein added that if the duo is serious about Zimbabwe People First, then the meaningful reason for pursuing the case would be to undermine Zanu-PF to their political advantage and that the courts cannot be used to play a part in political parties’ fights.
Mr Hussein argued that since the two were no longer Zanu-PF members, they had lost their right to be heard in a case to do with Zanu-PF’s internal decisions.