BY CHARLES LAITON
JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, together with his Finance and Economic Development counterpart Mthuli Ncube, have both entered appearance to defend a $1,8 million political parties funding claim by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T.
Early last month, the political party petitioned the High Court seeking an order to compel both the Justice and Finance ministers to pay the money which it claims was due at the end of December 2018.
Through its lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, the political party issued the summons against Ziyambi in his official capacity as the minister responsible for the administration of the Political Parties (Finance) Act and Ncube in his official capacity as a minister in charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
However, on January 21, 2019, both ministers, through their lawyers from the Civil Division of the Attorney-General’s Office, entered their appearances to defend, setting a stage for a bruising legal battle.
“Be pleased to take notice that on January 21, 2019 the defendants [Ziyambi and Ncube] hereby enter an appearance to defend the action instituted by the plaintiff [MDC-T] … The summons was served on defendants on January 16, 2019,” part of the notice of appearances to defend read.
According to the MDC-T, the basis for its claim of the money is that in 2013, it contested the general elections during which time it obtained more than 5% of the total votes cast in that election and, as a result, qualified to be paid money appropriated by Parliament for political parties.
“Plaintiff (MDC-T) applied to the first defendant (Justice and Parliamentary Affairs ministry) under section 4 of the Political Parties (Finance) Act and was approved as a qualifying political party,” the party
“For the financial year ending December 31, 2018, the first defendant, despite receiving from the second defendant (Finance ministry) an amount of $1 800 000 meant for the plaintiff, has refused and/or neglected to pay to the plaintiff that amount.”
The MDC-T further said despite several demands to have the money released, both ministries had not budged, thereby forcing the political party to approach the court for recourse.
Khupe’s faction broke away from the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC after losing a leadership battle to the former student leader following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai in February last year, but kept the MDC-T moniker.
She was expelled from Parliament in April last year after the party recalled her as its proportional representation legislator for Bulawayo Metropolitan