HARARE - Defiant former confidante to President Robert Mugabe, Didymus Mutasa, has implored the nonagenarian to unshackle himself from the negative influence of Zanu PF “mafikizolos” (Johnny-come-latelies) who he says are misleading the president.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Mutasa also warned Mugabe to desist from interfering with the courts and let the judiciary decide on the explosive case that disaffected liberation struggle pioneers have filed in the High Court against the ruling party regarding the legality of its disputed 2014 congress.
Last week, Mugabe chillingly declared that he would want to know the judge who would have the guts to take up the pending case, led by Mutasa and former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, pitting opposing Zanu PF factions against each other.
The 91-year-old controversial utterances were immediately interpreted by legal experts as a clear sign that he was interfering with the Bench and undermining the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, as espoused in the country’s new Constitution.
But as the deadly Zanu PF wars continue to escalate and get messier, Mutasa treaded a fine line between condemning Mugabe and reaching out to him yesterday, saying that it was not entirely the veteran leader’s fault that he was making such controversial statements — blaming “mafikizolos” who were allegedly lying to the president about many things.
“We like him as our president and there is no one who wants to kill him. But the law is the law, it has to be followed.
“But baba ngavarege kufurirwa nepwere (the president should not be misled by political novices),” Mutasa said.
He said they had taken Mugabe and the party to court because of the brazen way in which the party’s constitution had been trampled on in the run-up to the contested December congress.
“He (Mugabe) has interfered with the party constitution and that is where we differ. They are failing to respect the constitution of the party and they have brought that disrespect to the government as well.
“He (Mugabe) is a member of the executive and should stop interfering with the judiciary. Ngavaregedze macourts atonge zvipere (They should allow the courts to preside on the case freely),” Mutasa said.
Asked if he had faith in the courts, Mutasa, who is also taking the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, to court for sanctioning his dismissal from Parliament, said he was hopeful that the judiciary would discharge its duties without fear or favour.
“I hope that our courts will be guided by law and not emotion. I want to believe that the judiciary will follow our law to the letter. Our speaker (Mudenda) is a member of the politburo which decided to expel me. He cannot be seen to be acting outside that decision which was made during his presence,” Mutasa said. Mutasa and Gumbo have taken Mugabe and Zanu PF to court over what they claim was an unconstitutional party congress last December, as well as what they call their“unprocedural” expulsion from the ruling party.
In their heads of arguments, Mutasa and Gumbo say they delayed launching their court application because many lawyers had “been intimidated into refusing to represent us”.
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, Lovemore Madhuku, told our sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend, that it was clear that Mugabe was ignorant of the law, as there was no matter that could be said to be outside the ambit of the judiciary as claimed by the president.
“There is no matter or dispute that cannot be brought to court. Under the Constitution, there is no matter that can be said to be non-judiciable. Mugabe is ignorant of this fact,” he said.
Madhuku added that Mutasa’s lawyers should capitalise on Mugabe’s remarks to dismiss the nonagenarian’s defence in court.
He also called on Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to issue a statement demanding that the executive stops interfering with the judiciary.
“What his lawyers should do when they go to court is to raise the issue that Mugabe’s remarks, as one of the respondents, were inappropriate as the matter is sub judice, and therefore his defence in court should be dismissed on that basis,” he said.