Biti Parly return stalled

Tendai Biti


Purported People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secretary-general Benjamin Rukanda has filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court challenging Justice Amy Tsanga’s ruling which nullified the expulsion of Tendai Biti and other former members of PDP from Parliament.

Justice Tsanga had ruled that Rukanda, who caused the expulsion of the six PDP members, was not a legitimate official of the PDP. Rukanda now wants an order stopping the execution of the judgment, arguing that the legislators could not be representatives in a party they no longer belong to.

Rukanda cited PDP officials Kucaca Ivumile Phulu, Settlement Chikwinya, Jacob Mafume, Arnold Batirai Dune, Simon Chanukah, Williams Madzimure, Regai Tsunga, Chelesile Mahlangu and the PDP led by Biti as first to ninth respondents, respectively.

Local Government minister July Moyo, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission were cited as the 10th to 13th respondents, respectively.

“Their interests are now at MDC Alliance and a default judgment was handed down because I was not served with their urgent chamber application,” Rukanda’s lawyer Everson Chatambudza submitted.

“The respondents obtained a default judgment against the second applicant on April 14, 2021 under case HC 5292/29. The applicants have filed an application for recession of the default order under case 1551/21 challenging the default order. The matter is still pending before the honourable court.

“The effect of the order is to render all other pending matters academic on a technicality without dealing with the real dispute between the parties on merits.

“The default order declared the second respondent, who defected to another political party as the secretary-general (Chikwinya), whose interests he is no longer representing, hence first applicant would suffer irreparable harm. Further ninth (Mahlangu), 11th (Mudenda) and 12th (Parliament) respondents might act according to the default order to the detriment of the applicants,” said Chatambudza.

“Upon verification, it was discovered that the purported summons upon which the default judgment was based had not been served on me at the time they were issued as alleged.

“Further, when I obtained a copy of the urgent chamber application from the High Court for the purposes of preparing an opposition to the confirmation of the provisional order, the summons had not been served on me. To make matters worse, when my legal practitioners filed the opposing papers to the confirmation, not the provisional order, the summons had not been served.”

Rukanda’s lawyer said the summons were served under strange circumstances “when the respondent knew very well that I was legally represented with my current lawyer”.

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