The High Court Wednesday ordered Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to stop, forthwith, masquerading as the president of the MDC.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou granted interim relief to the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, which was the first applicant, and secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (second applicant) which interdicted Mutambara from exercising “any function” vested in the president of the party until the finalisation of High Court case number 612/11, in which a faction loyal to Mutambara (respondent) is challenging the rise of Ncube to the MDC presidency.
Ndou ruled: “That respondent is interdicted from ‘purporting’ to be the president of the Movement for Democratic Change.
“That respondent is interdicted from exercising any function vested in the president of the Movement for Democratic Change. That respondent is interdicted from in any way interfering with structures and organs of the party.”
In her founding affidavit, Misihairabwi-Mushonga chronicled the events that led to the congress which ushered Ncube into power.
These included the walking-out at the last national council meeting by some members of the party, their subsequent High Court application to have the congress resolutions set aside and Mutambara’s decision to pull out of the leadership race.
She also mentioned that the party’s national standing committee resolved to shuffle its Cabinet members on January 23 and re-assigned Mutambara from the DPM post to the Regional Integration and International Cooperation ministry.
She said Mutambara had on February 7 announced he would not relinquish his DPM post until the High Court had made a determination before announcing he had fired Ncube from the party two days later.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said her application came at a critical time in the inclusive government and called for elected leaders of the party, including Ncube, to be allowed to play their role, more so because Mutambara was contemplating reshuffling MDC ministers and attending critical meetings.
“In the last 48 hours, the respondent has been telling all and sundry that he will soon be announcing a Cabinet reshuffle of the MDC ministers in the inclusive government by replacing the existing team with his nominees. In this regard he has approached several of the party’s MPs offering them ministerial appointments,” she said.
“Respondent is not the MDC president and has no authority to reshuffle the party ministers. Furthermore, there are at least two forthcoming meetings of the presidents of the three political parties in the GPA . . . The respondent is claiming that he will represent the party at these important meetings, when in fact he has no mandate to do so.
“There is also a forthcoming meeting of the Sadc Organ on Defence and Security at which the facilitator of the Zimbabwe dialogue, President Jacob Zuma, will present his report on the outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA. The party must be presented by its president at this meeting which is normally attended by the presidents of the parties in the GPA. Since the respondent is claiming to be the president of the MDC and claims to have dismissed the party president, we fear that the respondent will seek to represent the party at this meeting when he has no lawful right to do so.”
Mutambara was given 10 days to file a notice of opposition in the High Court in Bulawayo, with one or more opposing affidavits if he intends to oppose confirmation of the order.