Mujuru faction forges ahead; lays gauntlet with backing of expelled chairpersons

HARARE – Expelled former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa  has roped in almost all fired provincial chairpersons to mount a tenacious court fight against President Robert Mugabe and his party over their dismissal, The Zimbabwe Mail can exclusively reveal.

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The court challenge fronted by Mutasa and expelled Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, seeks to overturn the party’s December congress which saw a number of party heavyweights falling by the way-side. It also seeks to declare null and void constitutional amendments effected to Zanu PF’s supreme law book on the basis that they were done illegally.

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In the past few weeks, according to well-placed sources, Mutasa has met deposed provincial chairpersons and other members, who were part of the executive, either in the youth, women’s league or at provincial level, but were removed in the build up to December 2014 congress.

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The former party administration chief has reportedly pleaded with them to join him in the fight to “democratise Zanu PF”.

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Mutasa confirmed yesterday he had received support from “a lot of people” but could not be drawn into providing names.

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“It is true that we have been working on the legal challenge. We have the support of all comrades who were removed from that so called Zanu PF and we are representing everyone who has been at the receiving end of illegality of the so called

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congress,” Mutasa told The Zimbabwe Mail. “This is not just them, but even those who were pushed out earlier than us. I am talking about the broader Zanu PF members who are now in the opposition. So yes it’s true we have the support of all those people who are disgruntled.”

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Only last week, hours after he was together with ex-Mashonaland West provincial chair Temba Mliswa fired from the ruling party, hordes of fired Vice-President Joice Mujuru lieutenants allegedly converged at Mutasa’s Umwinsidale home in Harare to map the way forward.

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Although the exact number of people who attended the meeting on Thursday could not be verified, sources said well above 50 disgruntled members attended and agreed to be applicants to the court action.

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Among ex-provincial chairpersons who reportedly attended the meeting were former Mashonaland East provincial chair Ray Kaukonde and Mliswa.

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“The meeting was discussing on how the court challenge could be mounted and who shall join Mutasa as applicants in the case, especially those who were removed forcefully from their party posts. They were strategising on affidavits to accompany the court application, stating what happened and where the party constitution was violated,” a source said.

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“The legal challenge shall be mounted not by Mutasa alone, but over 20 people who will be stating why they believe the party violated their rights. These people will be putting supporting affidavits to ensure their case is strong with provable evidence.”

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Former Harare provincial chair, Amos Midzi, Mashonaland Central’s Luke Mushore and other provincial executive members across the country were also said to be part of the clique likely to join Mutasa to challenge President Mugabe and Zanu PF over the events in December.

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Efforts to get a comment from Midzi and Mushore yesterday failed. Mutasa and his group are reportedly being represented by former Attorney-General, Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, who could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print last night.  Gula-Ndebele is allegedly working with another Harare lawyer, Addington Chinake, and were reportedly  seeking to enlist the services of a South Africa-based advocate to prosecute their case.

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Mliswa’s phone yesterday went unanswered, while Kaukonde’s was off.

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The ex-Mashonaland West provincial chair has indicated  he might be standing as an independent candidate for Hurungwe West in the impeding by-election after reportedly securing the support of a chief, war veterans and youths in the area.

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Among the youths who allegedly attended the meeting at Mutasa’s home were deposed youth league secretary for administration Varaidzo Mupunga and former Harare youth league chair Jim Kunaka.

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Although Mupunga’s mobile phone was unreachable, Kunaka said: “I am not talking to the media at the moment, why is that you people you are only focusing on tarnishing other people’s names? Is there any problem in me meeting VaMutasa or sympathising with him? Is there any criminality there? Why are you not asking me about my abduction case which has not been investigated (sic).

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“Since you already have a story, let the person who saw me at Cde Mutasa’s home give you all the details. Where was that person when I went there if indeed I was there? I will make a statement in the near future after all is said and done.”

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Insiders said Mutasa and his group base their challenge on the provisions of the party’s constitution, especially on article three section 20(3, 4, 6, and 7) which deals with rights of party members.

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The challenge would also look at the manner in which some party members were barred from contesting in central committee elections for allegedly supporting Mujuru.

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“If you look at article three section 20(2), every party member shall have the right to be elected to any office in the party subject to such rules and regulations as the central committee shall determine from time to time,” one of the many lawyers Mutasa is working with said. “People were denied the right to be voted into the central committee just because they were suspected to be supporting Mujuru. With no evidence placed thereof to support the claims, we have some who had won the elections being removed from the list by provincial executive members and replaced by losers.”

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The lawyer gave examples of Webster Shamu, Sylvester Nguni and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti — all former ministers and high ranking members of the party.

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“If you look at that section, particularly subsection 3, 4,6 and 7 , you will find that every member of the party has the right to have audience with any officer of the party, make representation to any officer or organ of the party in respect of any matter which affects his or her rights as a member, not to be subjected to arbitrary or vexatious treatment by those in authority over him and to seek remedy in respect of any grievances as a result of the action of any person  in authority over him,” added the lawyer.

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Mutasa would also challenge the manner in which he and others were dismissed without due process.