HARARE – Zanu PF’s deadly factionalism, as well as its ugly goings-on and secrets, will soon be laid bare in court after two liberation struggle stalwarts, Didymus Mutasa (pictured) and Rugare Gumbo, filed a High Court application yesterday seeking to nullify the ruling party’s disputed 2014 congress and all its resolutions that emanated therefrom.
In the much-anticipated application, the two war veterans cited President Robert Mugabe and former party chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo as the respondents.
Mutasa also re-asserted in the application that he was still Zanu PF’s legitimate secretary for administration, emphasising that he had been elected to the position at the party’s 2009 congress.
“The present application is one that seeks a declaration to the effect that the first respondent (Zanu PF)’s congress that was held in
December 2014 was a nullity and was held in breach of the respondent’s own constitution.
“Connected to the illegality of the congress is the unlawfulness and unconstitutionality of certain appointments and decisions that were made and of certain constitutional amendments that were made,” Mutasa said in his affidavit.
He said that the lawful structures of Zanu PF were those that stood as of September 30, 2014.
Mutasa also argued in the Mutasa, Gumbo challenge Mugabe in the court papers that the application was in part also premised on the barring and disqualification of certain nominees to the ruling party’s central committee.
“The violence, intimidation, threats and hate speech, bias including unlawful media campaigns that was unleashed against a certain group of party members resulting and creating a totally unfree and unfair and indeed illegitimate congress,” he said.
“The denial, refusal and removal of certain members of the right to stand and hold office in the central committee was unlawful and in breach of the first respondent’s Constitution as well as Section 67 of the country’s Constitution.
“The failure by the respondents to hold an election at its Congress for the position of Vice President and second secretaries and the national chairperson was unlawful and in breach of the first respondent’s Constitution,” Mutasa added.
Mutasa and Gumbo, who are represented by lawyers from Mutumbwa and Mugabe Legal practitioners, said the entrance of Mugabe’s wife Grace into politics, following Oppah Muchinguri’s decision to relinquish her post as the Women’s League boss, resulted in serious conflict within the party.
“… once she (Grace) had so entered, a major shift occurred in the party. (Mrs) Mugabe unleashed hatred, disrespect, malice, slander and defamation which Zanu PF had never been experienced, even from opponents in opposition politics.
“There was no limit, no elasticity, and no boundaries with regards to the verbiage and diatribe that came from the first lady,” Mutasa said.
He added that Grace’s actions were made worse by the biased coverage that she got from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and State-owned newspapers.
On his part, Gumbo said Grace had left a “trail of destruction” during her provincial “Meet the people” tour.
“It pains me that, the revolutionary party that we now lead is now devouring its own children,” Gumbo said, adding that in his case, it was not the first time that such a thing had happened.
He said a similar situation happened in 1978, when he was subjected to an “unlawful behaviour” by Mugabe, leading to his incarceration in various camps in Mozambique, until his release in 1979.
Mutasa further said that Mugabe and Zanu PF had breached his rights, as well as those of former vice president Joice Mujuru, to participate in politics freely.
He said the violence that had been unleashed made it impossible for him and Mujuru to attend the party’s congress which he described as a “sham”.
Mutasa also said that the coup allegations that were raised against him and Mujuru, as well as the fact that they had been barred from attending the party’s congress, breached their right to human dignity.
He said provincial meetings that were set to conduct party elections and nomination processes for central committee positions were “fraught with intimidation, threats of violence, violent repression and were clearly not free, fair or constitutional”.
“In many instances drunken youths and persons claiming to be war veterans were present in these proceedings unleashing serious unlawfulness, fear, duress diatribe,” he said.
Mutasa said the problems that were affecting Zanu PF could be traced back to 2004 when the party held its fourth elective congress. He said there was then a battle between Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mujuru, in their bid to replace the late Simon Muzenda.
Mujuru was eventually elected as the VP.
“With the second respondent (Mugabe)’s advancing age, the competition and the battle to succeed him, continued arresting and affecting our party,” Mutasa said.