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Mnangagwa tells Zanu PF coup challenger to withdraw application

Lawyers representing Zanu PF member Sybeth Musengezi who is challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power via a military coup in November 2017 have accused the Zanu PF leader’s legal team of bullying him and reported the matter to the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

Musengezi approached the High Court in October seeking an order declaring as illegal the November 19, 2017 a central committee meeting that forced the late former President Robert Mugabe to resign and crown then ousted Vice President Mnangagwa.

But the President’s attorney, Edwin Manikai of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners has written a letter to Musengezi ordering him to withdraw his challenge against the Zanu PF leader’s ‘illegal’ rise to power.

Zanu PF member Sybeth Musengezi
Zanu PF member Sybeth Musengezi

Musengezi’s lawyers, Ncube Attorneys have since challenged Manikai saying his conduct was “unethical” and “unprofessional” before reporting him to the regulatory authorities.

“We noted with great concern that you are using ‘bullying’ tactics and these tactics shall be strongly resisted as such your conduct has been reported to the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

“Our client shall be filing an answering affidavit and the matter shall proceed to be heard in court,” read the letter.

In his application, Musengezi argues the Zanu PF meeting that elevated Mnangagwa in 2017 was illegal because it was presided over by Obert Mpofu who was then only the party’s secretary for finance.

He also argues that former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko should convene a special Extraordinary Congress of Zanu PF that will decide the lawful position of Mnangagwa and other top party members.

Mnangagwa, through his lawyers, has since indicated that he is immune to prosecution because he is the President of Zimbabwe. On November 11, the Zanu PF leader wrote a letter to Musengezi’s lawyers ordering them to withdraw their challenge or risk being sued.

The letter was written by Mnangagwa’s lawyers on behalf of the ruling, Zanu PF secretary for administration Mpofu and acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa, who were cited as respondents in the case. The letter was copied to the Registrar of the High Court.

“It is, therefore, advisable for your client to withdraw his application unconditionally at this stage, tendering wasted costs, to avoid further abuse of process and privilege and forcing the respondents to incur additional costs defending this spurious and vexatious matter,” said Mnangagwa’s lawyers said.

“In the event of your client not heeding this clarion call, our clients would be left with no other alternative, but to seek cost de bonis propriis (pay costs from your own pocket) against you, on the basis and grounds that your client is facing primarily legal and supremely incontrovertible contestation, proceeding further would be evidence of gross negligence, and with respect, frivolous action in the advice rendered to your client,” Mnangagwa’s lawyers added.

“This proposal is open for acceptance by your client and yourselves within seven days of the date of this letter, after which it should be treated as having been withdrawn and of no force and effect, unless extended prior to the expiry.

“In the event, our clients would be placing a copy of this letter before the honourable court in motivation of the prayer for cost de bonis propriis.”

“We note that your client did not specify his address or residence or business, as required by the High Court rules, and thereby risking our clients in efforts to recover costs that might be made against him in this matter.”

The matter is yet to be heard. Nehanda Radio