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Zanu PF youth sues Mnangagwa over 2017 coup that toppled Mugabe

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been slapped with a lawsuit by a fellow Zanu PF youth member over the November 2017 coup that ousted the late former party leader Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is flanked by his then deputy Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Then Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe flanked by his then deputy Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Sybeth Musengezi through his lawyer Nqobani Sithole, Wednesday approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking the nullification of Zanu PF’s 19 November 2017 special session of the Central Committee meeting, which elected, then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa the leader of the country.

He cited Zanu PF as the first respondent and Mnangagwa as the second respondent.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa, former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko, ex-finance secretary Ignatius Chombo were cited as the third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondents respectively.

Musengezi argues that a Central Committee meeting that forced Mugabe to resign, installing Mnangagwa was illegal.

He argues that former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko should convened a special Extraordinary Congress of Zanu PF that would have decided the lawful position of Mnangagwa and other top party members.

“This a court application in terms of Section 14 of the High Court Act, Chapter 7:06 for declaratory orders and consequential relief in the following terms, a declaratur that the special session of the Central Committee of the 1st respondent (Zanu PF) convened on the 19th of November 2017 at the party’s headquarters in Harare from 10: 00 to 16:00 hours was ultra-vires the provisions of the Constitution of the 1st respondent and, therefore, unlawful and null and void” read part of the court papers.

“A declaratur that all the resolutions of the special session of the Central Committee of the 1st respondent passed at the unlawful meeting concerned on the 19th of November 2017 are unlawful, invalid and accordingly set aside.”

“The position of the President and First Secretary of the party was occupied by his Excellency Cde Robert Mugabe, who was also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

“Out of the two positions of Vice President and Second Secretary of the party only one such position was occupied by Cde Phelekezela Mphoko, the 5th respondent herein.

“The other position of Vice President and Second Secretary of the party was vacant after the 2nd respondent (Mnangagwa) was relieved of his duties as one of the two vice presidents of the country under the Constitution of Zimbabwe on the 6th of November 2017.

“Following his removal from the position of Vice President of the country, the second respondent for reasons I never understand decided to flee the country.”

Mnangagwa assumed leadership of Zimbabwe through a military takeover that overthrew Mugabe who had ruled for 37 years. Mugabe died in 2019 in Singapore from prostate cancer.

Zanu PF youth Sybeth Musengezi
Zanu PF youth Sybeth Musengezi

Musengezi said at the time of his removal, Mugabe was not incapacitated to preside over a lawfully convened session of the Central Committee in terms of Article 7 Section 38 of the party’s Constitution but he was at all material times seized with the internal affairs of the party in his engagement with the commanders of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as evidenced by the subject of his televised speech on the evening of the 19th of November 2017 at the end of which he bid the whole country a good night with the famed Asante Sana remark.

He added that even then vice president and second secretary of Zanu PF Mphoko was not incapacitated to preside over a lawfully convened session of the Central Committee in terms of Article 7 section 38 of the party’s constitution, in the event that the President and First Secretary of the party was absent.

“It is, therefore, clear that the pretext of alleged incapacitation of the top leadership of the party given by those who attended the unlawful and unconstitutional special session of the Central Committee meeting convened on the 19th of November 2017 is deliberately false and misleading.”

Musengezi said Mpofu had no authority to preside over the Central Committee meeting since he was then only Zanu PF’s secretary for finance.

“The 3rd respondent was at the material time the secretary for finance and the functions and responsibilities of that position are spelt out in Article 9 Section 49 of the party’s Constitution.

“He had no authority whatsoever to convene or preside over a session of the Central Committee and there is no provision in the party’s constitution, which empowers members of the party’s Central Committee to elect a member of their own choosing to preside over a session of the Central Committee of the 1st respondent. The matter is yet to be heard. Nehanda Radio

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