Mutambara challenges court order

HARARE – Embattled Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara Friday challenged a provisional High Court order which interdicted him from exercising “any function” vested in the president of the MDC until the finalisation of a High Court case, in which a faction loyal to Mutambara is challenging the rise of Ncube to the MDC presidency.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou last week granted interim relief to the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, which was the first applicant, and secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (second applicant) which interdicted Mutambara from exercising “any function” vested in the president of the party until the finalisation of High Court case number 612/11, in which a faction loyal to Mutambara (respondent) is challenging the rise of Ncube to the MDC presidency.

Mutambara is arguing that Misihairabwi-Mushonga was hiding “behind the courts in dealing with a politically sensitive matter that they have failed to deal with within the appropriate political domain”.

“In my view this is an abuse of the court process,” Mutambara said in court papers filed at the High Court in Bulawayo Saturday.

“The court must be very slow in getting involved in such matters. A decision that appears to be dealing only with matters of my party has a clear effect on the operation of Executive of the Government.”

Mutambara Saturday attended a meeting with President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and said he did so in his capacity as a GPA principal and not leader of the other MDC.

Mutambara said Misihairabwi-Mushonga and her group approached President Mugabe with the matter and were told: “You can tell your National Council that mina (me) as Robert Mugabe, angifuni (I don’t want).”

This, he said indicated a “total rejection of the group’s proposals, which are part of this application.

“It is immediately after this response from the President of Zimbabwe that the 2nd applicant (Misihairabwi-Mushonga) approached this Honourable court,” Mutambara said. 

Mutambara is arguing there was no “proper” urgent chamber application before the court and that the applicants did not follow proper procedures in seeking redress.

He said because of this, the provisional order should not have been granted.

He argued the matter was not supposed to be treated as urgent saying: “As I understand it, urgent matters are those that cannot wait and must be dealt with forthwith and without any delay. There must be justification for the matter to ‘jump the queue’ as it were.”

In the provisional order Justice Ndou ruled: “That respondent is interdicted from ‘purporting’ to be the president of the Movement for Democratic Change.

“That respondent is interdicted from exercising any function vested in the president of the Movement for Democratic Change. That respondent is interdicted from in any way interfering with structures and organs of the party.”

In her founding affidavit, Misihairabwi-Mushonga chronicled the events that led to the congress which ushered Ncube into power.

These included the walking-out at the last national council meeting by some members of the party, their subsequent High Court application to have the congress resolutions set aside and Mutambara’s decision to pull out of the leadership race. -NewsDay