ZANU PF challenges Musengezi lawsuit

by | Nov 7, 2021 | Crime & Courts, Local News | 0 comments


Hosia Mviringi

The ruling party ZANU PF has has filed opposition papers at the High Court in response to an application by one Sybeth Musengezi who is suing the President Mnangagwa in his capacity as President and Head of State and First Secretary of ZANU PF.

In his opposing affidavit, submitted through Dube, Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners, ZANU PF Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Moses Mpofu said Musengezi is not a member of the ruling party.
Dr Mpofu attached an Affidavit by Dr Goodwills Masimirembwa who is the Zone 4 District Coordinating Committee Chairperson and Interim Harare Provincial Chairperson saying he never had a record of Musengezi as a member of ZANU PF.

Dr Mpofu drew to the attention of the Court a Section of the National Constitution that guarantees Presidential Immunity for a sitting Head of State and government.
“I am advised that Section 98 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for Presidential Immunity,” he wrote, quoting the whole section of the supreme law.

Among other things, the section says “While in office, the President is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any court for things done or omitted to be done in his or her capacity.”
This section of the Zimbabwean Constitution, as is the case in many jurisdictions worldwide, provides for absolute immunity and it insulates the President from any form of civil or criminal prosecution in any Court in Zimbabwe.

Musengezi, who is a confirmed member of the FEEZ Party, had approached the High Court challenging and seeking nullification of the appointment of President Mnangagwa to the position of President and First Secretary of the revolutionary party alleging irregularities in the process leading to his appointment by the Central Committee on November 19, 2017.

In addition, Musengezi’s application was deemed faulty as he, contrary to rule 12 (21) of the High Court, approached the Court without first seeking leave of the court to sue the President.
Rule 12 (21) of the High Court has a specific purpose to protect the President from abuse through frivolous and vexatious litigations that have the effect of disrupting the smooth flow and discharge of national duty related to the Office of the President and Cabinet.

In an opposing affidavit, ZANU PF Secretary for Administration, Dr Obert Mpofu said ZANU PF is a self-governing voluntary organisation with organs to regulate its activities.

“It is imperative to note that the First respondent(ZANU PF Party) is a self-governing voluntary organisation with the power to manage its affairs in accordance to the letter and spirit of its  constitution and is able, in plenary, as at the meeting of it’s Central Committee held on 19 November 2017 to regulate its procedures and to deal with exigencies of the situation, as it did under the situation.”

In the absence of the three top leaders of the party, the Central Committee, as the supreme governing organ of the party in between Congresses had the mandate to appoint anyone, in this case, the most senior leader to preside over this crucial session, and Dr Mpofu happened to be one.

Under Section 14 of the High Court of Zimbabwe Act, an applicant has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are indeed an interested party for a declaratory order to be granted.
Due to Musengezi`s fraudulent membership which could not be proven through cell verification, his application failed to prove his bonafide status thus making his application weak.

Dr Mpofu prayed that the Court dismisses the application with costs on a higher scale.