BY RICHARD MUPONDE
FORMER Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya has been dethroned as president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation after the High Court declared the results and proceedings of the elections which brought her to the helm null and void.
Rushwaya was elected ZMF president on June 14 last year, but her election was challenged by a group of miners under the banner Zvishavane-Mberengwa Miners’ Association (ZMMA) through their lawyers Mutuso, Taruvinga and Mhiribidi Attorneys.
The group wanted an order barring the holding of the elections and to have them indefinitely postponed, arguing that Rushwaya wanted to take the leadership by unorthodox means.
On June 18 last year, ZMMA won a provisional order barring the holding of the elections, but ZMF chief executive officer Wellington Takavarasha opposed the matter on behalf of the organisation.
The elections went ahead and Rushwaya won.
However, in her judgment, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo on March 26 noted that Takavarasha, who defended the application on ZMF’s behalf, was not empowered to do so by the federation’s constitution and rendered the application duly unopposed.
“The problem with authority is that, nowhere in the constitution is a chief executive given authority to institute or defend legal process on behalf of the organisation. This court can’t then encourage organisations to breach their own constitutions and do as they please. That’s unlawful and this court can’t lend a hand to or allow unlawfulness to prevail,” she ruled.
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“It’s for these reasons that I hold the notice of opposition and the opposing affidavit as not properly before the court, as they have been brought through the back door and not in accordance with respondents’ own constitution. As a result, I will proceed to confirm the provisional order which, in my view, stands unopposed.”
ZMF was formed in 2003, mainly to champion the interests of small-scale and artisanal miners.
In his founding affidavit, ZMMA chairperson Thembinkosi Sibanda said ZMF unprocedurally admitted 13 new associations to join the federation.
He queried Rushwaya’s running for the ZMF presidency yet she was not affiliated to the organisation.
Sibanda said Rushwaya paid $6 500 affiliation fees for the 13 new associations whose admission was irregular and in violation of the ZMF constitution.