ZANU PF leader President Robert Mugabe has filed his opposing affidavit to the court challenge filed by former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and ex-spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, saying the duo had no locus standi to challenge their expulsion from the ruling party as they were no longer bona fide members.

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By Everson Mushava

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In papers filed on his behalf by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on March 18, Mugabe said Gumbo and Mutasa should have exhausted internal remedies to contest their expulsion before taking the matter to the High Court if they respected the party’s constitution as they so claimed.

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Mutasa and Gumbo approached the High Court last month seeking an order compelling Mugabe to reverse their expulsion and the outcome of the party’s December congress.

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The pair claimed that the congress was held in violation of the party’s constitution.
\n“The fact that they are not members of the first respondent (Zanu PF) immediately strips them of their rights as members of the first respondent as enshrined in clause 17 of the former Constitution or clause 20 of the new Constitution,” Mugabe said.

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“The applicants have not had the expulsion set aside whether by first respondent (Zanu PF) or by any court. They therefore would not be able to establish their legal basis for challenging the goings-on within the first respondent.”

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Mugabe also said Mutasa and Gumbo have no locus standi to represent “unnamed” people “they allegedly seek an order on behalf of”.

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He also said the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter before it is set for by Zanu PF as required by the party’s constitution.

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“As the applicants themselves concede they did not file the application within the prescribed eight weeks, the application is not properly before the court unless and until a proper application for condonation has been made and granted,” Mugabe argued.

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The Zanu PF leader accused Mutasa and Gumbo of failing to even engage the central committee to register their grievances.

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“If this honourable court were to determine this matter, it would be talking away the central committee’s powers which as per the first respondent’s constitution, is final arbitrator on these questions.”
\nIn his court papers, Mutasa claimed that he wrote to Mugabe seeking an internal remedy which he ignored, forcing him to approach the courts for redress.

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But Mugabe said Mutasa could have written to the central committee, not to him, claiming the letter was not a genuine appeal for redress, as it was the applicants’ ill-fated manoeuvres against the due electoral process.

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He said the reference to First Lady Grace Mugabe when she is not cited in the papers was a show of cowardice to attack someone without giving them the right to respond. Mutasa, in his papers, described Grace’s entry into politics as toxic and the origins of intolerance in the party. – NewsDay