By- In a move that appears to be a concerted effort by Zanu PF to eliminate the country’s main opposition CCC, the Supreme Court Friday dismissed an appeal by Chamisa’s Members of Parliament (MPs) recalled in October by the party’s self-imposed secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu.
This means that the 09 December 2023 by-elections will go ahead as scheduled.
Tshabangu recalled the legislators saying they had ceased to be CCC members. The lawmakers then approached the High Court to have their recalls reversed but the court dismissed their application.
The High Court ruled that the lawmakers had failed to prove that they were still CCC members, prompting the recalled lawmakers to note an appeal at the Supreme Court.
However, their case could not be heard after the court ruled that respondents were wrongly cited.
A bench chaired by Justice Joseph Musakwa found that the appeal was incorrectly filed because other critical parties were not cited. Justice Mutsakwa ruled:
It is common cause that the court aquo handed down a unitary judgement. Parties before the court aquo were supposed to be the same before this court as such the court agrees with Mr Uriri.
The court is of the view that the notices of appeal are fatally defective. Consequently, there is no appeal before this court.
NewZimbabwe.com reports that the MPs and senators had filed separate appeals before the Supreme Court despite that a unitary ruling was handed down by the High Court.
On one hand, the MPs did not cite the senators in their application and on the other hand, the latter did not cite the MPs.
Advocate Lewis Uriri argued that this was a fatal technical error, an argument which was upheld by the court. He said:
At a case management meeting, all the parties consented to the consolidation of the applicants because the relief sought was similar.
The effect is that the two matters became one so when judgement is rendered one may not undo the consolidation and appeal as if they are two different matters which is what the appellants have done.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu who was representing the MPs argued that “There is no rule of the court that is offended by the non-joinder of senators.”
Amanda Ndlovu representing the senators said that for the sake of hearing, the two cases were put together.
She added that they still have an opportunity to refile the appeal. She said:
What that means is to say go and correct that and the appellants still have an opportunity to refile their appeal in a manner which complies with the rules of this court.
Therefore, the case was dismissed on technicalities and the judge did not look into the arguments. The case was thrown out because the senators and MPs filed the papers separately.