Emmerson Mnangagwa is cornered in a high-stakes internal power struggle manoeuvre over his dubious legitimacy as Zanu-PF leader in the aftermath of a devastating High Court application by a party member – which reflects factional strife and his faltering grip.
In the explosive lawsuit, party member Sybeth Musengezi is demanding that the court follow the precedent set by the opposition MDC-T case in the Supreme Court and force Mnangagwa to step down.
This comes as The NewsHawks has received huge feedback from various political sections, including Zanu-PF bigwigs and ordinary members, showing that the court case has set the cat among the pigeons ahead of the party’s annual conference at the end of this month.
The shifts and changes within Zanu-PF structures amid a state of flux are also being fuelled by the political brinkmanship fixated on the party’s delayed elective congress before the 2023 general elections.
This is over and above the main contention in the application, widely shared in the party, that Mnangagwa should relinquish the leadership, as he was installed illegally through a kangaroo Zanu-PF central committee meeting on 19 November 2017 at party headquarters in Harare. The meeting was unlawfully convened, constituted and conducted, the High Court application by Zanu-PF member Musengezi demanding Mnangagwa’s removal says.
The court challenge against Mnangagwa’s ascendancy by Musengezi has echoes of the messy MDC-T infighting that erupted following the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018. Mnangagwa’s unconstitutional and unlawful rise to power is thus now entangled in the MDC-T case precedent. Courts usually work through precedents.
Precedent refers to a court judgment that is considered as authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar facts, or similar legal issues. The similarities between the Zanu-PF and the MDC-T cases are close. Musengezi is alive to that reality in his application.
“I am fortified in my quest for a remedy to my grievance against the respondents (Zanu-PF, Mnangagwa, Obert Mpofu, Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu-PF secretary for finance and acting national commissar, Phelekezela Mphoko, former vice-president, and Ignatius Chombo, ex-secretary for administration) by a recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe handed down on the 31st of March 2020 in the matter of the Movement for Democratic Change & Others v Mashavira & Others Sc 56/20, wherein the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe made a corrective intervention in the internal affairs of the Movement for Democratic Change party and made an order for the regularisation of the election of the leadership of that political party in the interests of justice despite the passage of time and the mootness of the case,” Musengezi says.
“The Supreme Court in the said judgment held that it is a matter of public importance as regards the governance of political parties generally that the leadership of the political party is constitutionally and lawfully ensconced.” Musengezi said the political stakes were much higher in the current Zanu-PF case than in the MDC-T one.- Bulawayo24