By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
27 June 2014
The MDC-T Renewal Team on Friday suffered a temporary setback when a High Court Judge suspended their Mandel meeting resolution to ditch party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Renewal Team, led by former secretary-general Tendai Biti, resolved in April during the Mandel meeting to suspend Tsvangirai and six other members of his inner circle, accusing the former trade unionist of displaying ‘fascist’ tendencies and using violence to silence dissent.
High Court judge, Happias Zhou’s interim order to suspend the resolutions is to allow the courts to determine if the meeting convened by the Biti camp was lawful.
This follows an application filed at the High court by a group of 130 members of MDC-T national council, challenging the legality of the Mandel meeting as they were not present. The group submitted to the court that the meeting was not properly constituted as only 33 members attended.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, who also acted as the lawyer in court, told SW Radio Africa that all the disciplinary proceedings the Biti camp was contemplating have been stopped, pending finalisation of the application brought by the 130 members of the national council. National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku represented the Renewal Team in court. Both lawyers made their legal arguments before Judge Zhou on Thursday evening.
‘For now they cannot enforce resolutions of the Mandel meeting. We are very happy that this ruling has rendered the Mandel meeting impotent. What this means is that all the property they seized after the meeting, including vehicles, now falls under the administration of the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai,’ Mwonzora said.
He added: ‘The Renewal Team wanted to embarrass Tsvangirai by dragging him to a disciplinary hearing in front of a dubious tribunal. For now that has been suspended, including the decision to put the party leadership under the control of the Guardian Council.’
Renewal spokesman Pishai Muchauraya said they are happy with the ruling because it effectively means Tsvangirai recognizes them as the legitimate national council.
‘The legal meaning of that ruling is that Tsvangirai remains suspended until the judge rules on the authenticity of the Mandel meeting. So we will hang on to all the party property,’ Muchauraya said. However, Mwonzora disputed Muchauraya’s interpretation of the ruling, saying the application they filed to the court had been granted in their favour.
‘They are a bunch of incompetent losers who are failing to come to terms with the ruling. This was an application we filed barring them to stop implementing their resolutions. It’s an order that was granted in our favour, so how can anyone try to be that stupid not to see what the judge said,’ he said.
Charlton Hwende, a staunch ally of Tsvangirai and a member of the national council representing Mashonaland West province, said: ‘The court ruling vindicates our position we stated after the Mandel charade that it was a bogus meeting attended by fictitious people. Council members are elected at congress, and the last election was in 2011 were bona fide members were elected. We have minutes of the first meeting after the 2011 congress.
‘Since 2011, we have had so many council meetings at which Tendai Biti as the secretary-general has minutes and the list of all the members who have been attending. Let them produce their Mandel list and compare it with the list that we sent to court of council members that were elected at congress. The whole truth shall come out and it’s going to be clear who has been lying to the people of Zimbabwe,’ Hwende said.
He added: ‘We have been very confident from the beginning that when it comes to proving the illegitimacy of the Mandel meeting, it would be easy to do so.
Meanwhile factional infighting also goes on in ZANU PF. The vehicles purchased by the ruling ZANU PF party for the July 31st election campaign have become the new battleground for the two main factions led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Zimbabwe Independent reported on Friday that a dispute has erupted between the factions over the Ford Everest vehicles.
The weekly paper said the party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, has been urging MPs to return the cars so that his faction can use them in preparation for the party’s congress, while the MPs aligned to the Mnangagwa faction are resisting returning the cars.
‘The Mnangagwa faction is aware that the cars may be used to campaign for Mujuru in the provinces. We are aware Mutasa is fighting from Mujuru’s corner so his interest in recalling the cars is questionable as we march towards the congress,’ a source told the paper.
Mutasa in October last year wrote to all party provincial chairpersons ordering them to collect vehicles which had been used for the elections. In the letter the party stalwart stated that he was making a ‘final call for the surrender of vehicles.’