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Mnangagwa coup challenger arrested for ‘fraudulent’ Zanu-PF membership

A Zanu-PF youth, Sybeth Musengezi, who is challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2017 coup has been arrested over “trumped up” charges of misrepresenting his home address to his party in 2012.

Musengezi, in October 2021, approached the High Court seeking an order declaring as illegal the November 19, 2017 a central committee meeting that forced the late former President Robert Mugabe to resign as Zanu-PF leader and crown then ousted Vice President Mnangagwa.

With the case still pending at the courts, the police yesterday arrested Musengezi after inviting him for an interview at Harare Central Police Station. He went there with his lawyer Doug Coltart.

Musengezi is charged with fraud as defined in section 136 of the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9: 23.

Part of the warned and caution statement read: “I Sybeth Musengezi NR…aged 37 years of house number Harare, having been informed by Detective Sergeant Kasuwa of CID Law and Order Harare, that enquiries are being made in connection with a case of Fraud as defined in section 136 of the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9: 23, which occurred sometime in 2012 at Zanu-PF Muzinda 1A District Offices in Hatcliffe Extension, where it is being alleged that I acting in common purpose with Allen Chisuko and Taurai Mutimbanyoka.”

“I unlawfully misrepresented to Zanu-PF that I resided at House Number 4513 Hatcliffe Extension, Harare, an address which I did not reside at but belonged Allen Chisuko as a result I became a Zanu-PF member for Muzinda District thereby prejudicing Zanu-PF to reputation and to good administration make this statement of my own free will, while I have been informed that I am not obliged to say anything in answer to these allegations, my failure at this stage to mention any facts relevant to my defence may result in a court drawing some inferences against me. Whatever I say will be put in writing and may be produced in court as evidence.”

Musengezi’s lawyer said the arrest of his client was meant to silence him.

“We consider the charges to be an abusive process and an appalling example for the police force that allows itself by Zanu-PF to silence dissenting voices, including dissenting within Zanu PF itself.

“The issue raised in the fraud charges, regarding the address used on the forms by which Mr Musengezi became a member of Zanu-PF are not issues of a criminal nature at all.

“But are in fact issues for determination before the court in the civil case that Mr Musengezi has against the president challenging the presidency’s legitimacy as the leader of Zanu PF,” said Coltart.

Self-exiled former cabinet Minister Jonathan Moyo accused Mnangagwa of “weaponising the system of criminal justice for his personal benefit”.

“In a gukurahundi style, Mnangagwa has arrested Sybeth Musengezi on trumped up charges that his Zanu PF membership is fraudulent. This is meant to destroy Musengezi’s locus standi in his court case on the illegal November 2017 Zanu-PF meeting that made Emmerson Zanu-PF President,” Moyo said.

“Yes, formally Sybeth Musengezi has been arrested by Police but in reality he has been arrested by Mnangagwa in an outrageous and intolerable case of abuse of power by weaponising the system of criminal justice for his personal benefit in a civil case against him.”

In his application at the High Court, Musengezi through his lawyers Ncube Attorneys, 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 would then decide the lawful position of Mnangagwa and other top party members.

But the President’s attorney, Edwin Manikai of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners, have 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. Nehanda Radio

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