By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
Despite being paraded at State House by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, former opposition MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu says he never formally joined the ruling Zanu PF party in what many see as an attempt to protect his National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) job.
Gutu was reported to have joined Zanu PF in March together with former MDC Alliance Senator for Chitungwiza James Makore. They were received by Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
On July 1, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) filed an application at the High Court challenging Gutu’s appointment citing it “came shortly after he publicly joined a political party namely the Zanu PF ”.
“In terms of section 236 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013, if a commissioner of an independent commission is a member of a political organization on his appointment, they must relinquish that political party membership within 30 days of the appointment or they immediately cease to be a Commissioner,” he said.
But in his opposing affidavit Gutu said he did not formally join the ruling party but showed interest. He said he does not hold a Zanu PF membership card.
“The applicant is misinformed. Whereas, it was reported that I have joined the Zanu PF political party and I did an exclusive interview explaining my reasons thereof, that was an expression of interest and intention. In any case, such publication or communication is not how one is formally admitted into the political party’s membership, more so membership which can be relinquished.
He added that Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu could also attest that he had not joined the party.
“In any case however, I had not yet submitted a formal application, nor paid the required joining fee nor been furnished with a membership card as such in a strict sense, which is also anticipated by Section 236(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“I was not yet a member of the Zanu PF political party. This fact is attested to by the Secretary for Administration of Zanu PF, Dr, Obert Mpofu whose supporting affidavit is attached hereto.
The case is yet to be heard.