Tsvangirai 1, Biti 0

HARARE - In a major boost to embattled MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, the High Court yesterday ruled that the opposition leader could not be hauled before a disciplinary hearing set up by MDC rebels led by expelled secretary-general Tendai Biti.

Justice Happious Zhou ruled that Biti and his group could not implement any resolution taken by his faction, which they have been trying to pass as binding MDC decisions, following a disputed “national executive meeting” that the rebels held in Harare earlier this year that sought to initially suspend and then expel Tsvangirai.

“Interim relief is granted,” Zhou said, as he upheld an urgent chamber application filed by the MDC yesterday that sought to stop the purported disciplinary hearing.

“Respondent (Biti) and any other person claiming or acting through their instructions be and are hereby interdicted from proceeding with any disciplinary proceedings against the applicant and other office bearers of the applicant on 27 June pursuant to the respondent of the meeting held at Mandel Training Centre,” Zhou added.

Tsvangirai was represented by MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, while Biti and the MDC renewal group were represented by NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku.

In April, Biti and his allies said they were suspending Tsvangirai along with five other senior party members namely — Mwonzora, deputy president Thokozani Khupe, national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Morgen Komichi.

They claimed that Tsvangirai was guilty of a “remarkable failure of leadership” and that he had allegedly “transformed (the party) into a fiefdom of the leader”.

A few days later, Tsvangirai responded by expelling Biti, former deputy treasurer-general  Elton Mangoma, legislator Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo and others — describing Biti as an “opportunist” who was being manipulated by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Biti’s renewal team initially set June 18 as the date for Tsvangirai’s purported disciplinary hearing following their suspension of him from the MDC in April, but the hearing was deferred to June 27 after one of the lawyers who was supposed to conduct the hearing distanced himself from the charade.

Tsvangirai dismissed the meeting that suspended him as “illegal, unconstitutional, illegitimate and bogus”.

The MDC standing committee resolved this week to challenge the hearing saying Tsvangirai could not be debased by appearing before a hearing convened by a leader of another party.
Addressing journalists after yesterday’s court ruling, Mwonzora said they were happy that the High Court had delivered justice. 

“We are happy that the attempts by the so-called Renewal Team to try to drag our president before a disciplinary hearing have been stopped by the High Court which has found that the meeting held at Mandel could have been illegal,” Mwonzora said.

“That means that we are waiting for a court case that was brought by Honourable Mahlangu and company to be determined, especially the determination whether the Mandel meeting can pass as a valid meeting of the MDC.

“We are very happy because dragging president Tsvangirai to a hearing of another political party was illegal and unfair anyway,” he said.

“The meeting at Mandel was a fake meeting and the court’s ruling has demonstrated that and proven that we are right,” Mwonzora added.

“We are happy our president is not going to be embarrassed by being brought before kangaroo courts whose motive is simply to embarrass him.” 

Tsvangirai’s MDC has insisted that the Mandel meeting was a nullity because it fell short of the requisite quorum as required by the party constitution.

It also argued that Sipepa-Nkomo, who chaired the disputed Mandel meeting, had no authority in terms of the party’s constitution to convene such a meeting.

It further argued that the purported national council meeting was not properly constituted.

“The decision to suspend Tsvangirai and several standing committee members from the party and instituting disciplinary actions against them was an illegality and that all the resolutions should be nullified,” reads part of the application granted yesterday.

Comments (3)

biti and mangoma are fishmonkers

kizito zanyunyu - 28 June 2014

One just needs to see how much Zanu(PF) Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) supports Biti to understand how lost this so-called renewal project is.

Kt - 28 June 2014

THE INTERIM RELIEF DOES NOT CLOSE THE ISSUE. ANY CASE THE MDC-T RENEWAL TEAM HAVE CHARGED AND CONVICTED THE ONCE-UPON-TIME PRIME MINISTER AND SUSPENDED PARTY LEADER TSVANGIRAI. THE POINT IS THAT CELEBRATING A VICTORY FOR A TSVANGIRAI TRIUMPH IS UNFORTUNATE AND MISGUIDED ON THE PART OF THE BLIND FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS OF THE MDC-T.

Rabison Nyundo (THE HAMMER) - 29 June 2014

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