Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
EXPELLED Zanu-PF officials Messrs Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo are still fighting to be accepted back into the ruling party despite being founding members of a new political outfit, Zimbabwe People First led by Dr Joice Mujuru. The two — who were expelled last year for allegedly trying to topple President Mugabe and replace him — are still battling to have their expulsion from Zanu-PF nullified by the High Court.
ZPF has notified the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of its existence ahead of the 2018 elections, but the two politicians did not give up on their High Court challenge after their lawyers Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni recently asked the court to set the matter down for hearing.
The pair is seeking to nullify amendments made to the Zanu-PF constitution and other decisions, including their dismissal at the ruling party’s December 2014 Congress. The High Court is yet to set down the challenge for hearing following the request by lawyers who are eager to have the matter brought to finality.
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 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 are no longer Zanu-PF members, they have lost their right to be heard in a case to do with Zanu-PF internal decisions.
“At its essence, this ‘application’ is a prayer by persons who are no longer members of the first respondent (Zanu-PF), that the processes and meetings of the first respondent whose outcome was unfavourable to them be nullified on the basis that their right to participate in the first respondent’s processes and meetings was summarily curtailed.
“The application is very much a case of sour grapes,” reads the heads of argument.
They are arguing that the Zanu-PF Congress of December 2014 was a nullity and that it was held in breach of the party’s constitution.
They also seek the nullification of the constitutional amendments made and adopted at the congress. Party elections or appointments made in terms of the amended constitution, the duo said, should be declared illegal.
Mutasa and Gumbo 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 two argue that the removal of some party members from the Central Committee and any refusal of others from contesting for the same positions was in breach of both the party’s constitution and the Supreme law of the country.
It is the duo’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 argue that the congress was not free and fair. The two, through Mutasa’s affidavit, argued that the party breached their constitutional rights by convicting them without being given audience.
“The respondents breached the rights of us applicants, including those of Joice Mujuru, by making allegations against us and indeed convicting us without our right to be heard and or right to administrative justice as defined in the Constitution respected.
“Further respondents’ unlawful action which prevented us from participating in the congress and the election thereof, our right to participate in politics freely, as required by Section 67 of the Constitution was breached,” reads the affidavit.