Expelled Zanu-PF officials Mr Didymus Mutasa and Mr Rugare Gumbo yesterday filed their High Court application seeking an order nullifying the ruling party’s 6th National People’s Congress and the amendments made to the party constitution. Mutasa and Gumbo admitted in their affidavits that they filed their review application outside the eight weeks period permissible at law saying they could not find lawyers willing to take the case, but begged the court to condone the filing 12 weeks after the congress.
The Herald reported, several weeks ago, that the Mujuru putschist cabal was failing to get lawyers willing to be associated with the application that many said was long on political allegations but short on legal merit. “We are aware that we had eight weeks from the date of the Congress to make the application but we beg the indulgence of this Honourable Court and seek condonation in that we had serious trouble in securing the services of legal practitioners in Zimbabwe who were all afraid of being associated with our Court application,’’ Mutasa — who ironically identified himself as Zanu-PF secretary for Administration — said. Their lawyers, Nyakutombwa and Mugabe Legal Practitioners, yesterday lodged the 344-page court application arguing that the December 2014 congress was a nullity and that it was held in breach of the party’s constitution.
They also seek the nullification of the amendments to the party’s constitution made and adopted at the congress and a declaration that subsequent party elections or appointments made in terms of the amended constitution were illegal. Mr Mutasa and Mr Gumbo argued that all votes of no confidence passed against 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 Zanu-PF Central Committee and any denial of others to contest for the same positions, was in breach of both the Zanu-PF party constitution and the national Constitution. The two argue that failure by Zanu-PF 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 and that the Congress was not free and fair. Zanu-PF, President Mugabe and Cde Simon Khaya-Moyo (former party national chairman) were cited respondents in the application.
The two, through Mr Mutasa’s affidavit, argued that the party breached their national constitutional rights by convicting them without being given a hearing. “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. The allegations raised against Dr Mujuru’s team, Mr Mutasa argued, were malicious and defamatory. “The manner in which allegations were made against myself and Vice President Mujuru, allegations that included malicious and defamatory contentions, clearly infringed our right to human dignity.
“Indeed the manner in which votes of no confidence were passed, the manner in which persons were barred from participating in the congress, and the lawlessness of the congress, resulted in a clear breach of my right and others to equal protection of the law as guaranteed by Section 56 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Mutasa. Mr Mutasa dismissed as baseless allegations that he together with other party members associated with Dr Mujuru plotted to assassinate President Mugabe. “In addition, we were accused of attempts to unlawfully and unconstitutionally remove the second respondent (President Mugabe). “More decisively, we were accused of trying to plot the assassination of the second respondent.
All those allegations were baseless but the net result was that, an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, duress and hatred was created in the party, long before congress,” he said. Mutasa argued that the appointment of the two Vice Presidents was in violation of the party’s constitution. He also contends that the abolishment of a reserved seat for women for the position of Vice President was unlawful. It is also argued that removal of the post of national chairman and that of five committee members was unlawful. The abolishment of 19 deputies to the heads of departments of the Politburo, the two argued, was unlawful. The pair is also contesting the disciplinary action taken against Gumbo, Enock Porusingazi, Jabulani Sibanda, John Mvundura and others saying it was done in breach of the party constitution. Politburo, the two argued, has no power to expel anyone without following due process.
In his supporting affidavit, Mr Gumbo said Dr Mujuru and her camp never plotted to remove President Mugabe from power but it was a group of four other members close to him that had such a plan.“The President himself said the accusations in Politburo meetings. He openly pointed that Amai Mujuru, D. Mutasa, Webster Shamu, Rugare Gumbo, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Munacho Mutezo and Mai (Olivia) Muchena, more or less in that order, were involved in an effort to oust him. “I personally told the President that it was not Amai Mujuru who wanted to push him out of power but the “gang of Four” consisting (Professor) Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Oppah Muchinguri and Patrick Zhuwao . . .” Mr Mutasa and Mr Gumbo begged the court to accept their application despite being filed outside the permissible timeframes. “Besides, so much information and documents had to be gathered, which made it impossible for us to meet the time limits,” read the court papers.
Mutasa and Gumbo, attached several annextures, among them politburo minutes, national chairman’s report, proposed constitutional amendments, and commissariat circular.First respondent, Mutasa, is accused of stealing Zanu-PF documents which party officials said, show evidence of tampering, particularly the proposed constitutional amendments circulated on November 22, 2014. A legal expert close to developments said the Mujuru cabal was quite cynical in citing party spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, as one of the respondents a day after claiming he was one of their own.Mutasa, the lawyer said, was also approaching the court with dirty hands in claiming to be the Zanu-PF secretary for Administration when that position is held by Dr Ignatius Chombo. “It is a laughable averment by Mutasa to claim that he is the secretary for Administration ‘elected’ at the 2009 Congress, when the correct position is that he is no longer secretary for Administration and had been appointed, and not elected, to that post in 2009