HARARE – Information minister and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo yesterday said President Robert Mugabe has a right to criticise Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo’s High Court application challenging the legality of the 2014 Zanu PF congress.

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Moyo

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Our sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday yesterday published a story in which lawyers attacked Mugabe accusing him of interfering with the judiciary.

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But Moyo yesterday came out guns blazing saying Mugabe as a respondent has a legal right to speak on a case he has been sued. Find below Moyo’s full statement to the Daily News.

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IT is false, misleading and even mischievous for anyone, especially lawyers, to claim that Didymus Mutasa is now unlikely to get a fair court hearing after President Mugabe said last Friday in Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe constituency that no court could interfere with internal matters of Zanu PF by entertaining Mutasa’s recent controversial High Court application whose essence is to challenge the existence of Zanu PF after the party’s

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December 2014 national people’s Congress

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What the President said is well within his legal rights in accordance with the rule of law given that he is the second respondent in the matter. From a legal point of view, President Mugabe was merely indicating and reaffirming the well established principle that courts have no jurisdiction over the internal political processes of political parties as private voluntary organisations.

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Adjudicating over a highly charged political matter such as the one that Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo have placed before the High Court cannot possibly be a simple or straightforward matter of interpreting the words or provisions of Zanu PF’s constitution but it is also about getting inside the DNA of the party’s ideology, policies, practices, traditions and values as a private and voluntary association.

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It is precisely for this reason that courts of law typically refrain from exercising jurisdiction over internal matters of political parties by requiring that litigants should in the first instance seek and exhaust all domestic remedies. Not only have Mutasa and Gumbo failed to seek any domestic remedies over the political matters they raise in their controversial court application but they have also unambiguously made it abundantly clear to all and sundry that they are contemptuous of Zanu PF itself and are unwilling to subject themselves to any of the party’s internal processes. Their approach to the courts of law is therefore political and sinister with no legal purpose whatsoever.

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As a respondent in the matter, President Mugabe is therefore right to question and challenge the legal basis upon which the courts can entertain a political application that is poorly disguised as a court application.

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More specifically, the President is well within his rights to assert that the courts have no jurisdiction in the matter. It is of course up to the courts to make a determination as to whether they have such jurisdiction in terms of the law and legal practice or precedence, but litigants in a constitutional democracy have a right to question and challenge that jurisdiction.

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That is what President Mugabe has done. It is ludicrous to suggest that such a challenge threatens Mutasa’s right to a fair hearing.

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After all it is Mutasa who not only cited President Mugabe as a second respondent but who also has been saying a lot of rubbish outside the court using mafia tactics to support his flawed court application.

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Mutasa must now live with the political and legal consequences of his court action. – Daily News