‘Courts can’t review Mugabe’s decision’

via ‘Courts can’t review Mugabe’s decision’ – DailyNews Live 3 July 2015

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s lawyer Terence Hussein has said that courts cannot review the decision by the head of State and Zanu PF to expel the former Masvingo Provincial minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti from the ruling party.

Hussein was making submissions in an application filed by Bhasikiti in which he is challenging his expulsion from Zanu PF, arguing that due process was not followed.

Before the matter could be heard on merits, Hussein raised preliminary points.

“A political party’s decision is not reviewable,” Hussein argued.

“The applicant (Bhasikiti) did not exhaust internal remedies.

“Our Constitution guarantees freedom of association… The freedom of association with one another also necessarily means that a political party must be given space to do whatever it is that it does.”

Hussein argued that individuals should not always run to the court to seek recourse without exhausting internal remedies.

“You have your constitution, resolve your issues. Do not bring other institutions into play.

“A political party is a voluntary organisation of persons of like-mind and principles who want to associate with each other to fulfil their own personal and collective needs.

“What happens in Zanu PF or any other political party is of little consequence to public issue.”

He further said that Bhasikiti failed comply with Rule 18 of the High Court rules, which states that, “No summons or other civil process of the court may be sued out against the President or against any of the judges of the High Court without the leave of the court granted on court application being made for that purpose.”

Hussein described Bhasikiti’s submissions that Zanu PF was a public body capable of being sued as “ridiculous”.

Bhasikiti’s lawyer Tendai Biti said Zanu PF was using laws of the jungle and was failing to uphold the law.

“The tone of the respondent’s arguments is a plea to this honourable court by hook and crook to say leave us alone, we are above the law, no one can scrutinise us,” Biti said. “It’s the law of the jungle.

“The law of the jungle does not exist anymore. Dog eat dog does not exist anymore and the respondents, no matter how powerful they are, they are not above the law.”

He said Mugabe and Zanu PF were clutching at straws by raising preliminary issues before the matter could be heard on merits, adding that the respondents were in court with dirty hands.

Biti said Mugabe and Zanu PF had failed to produce minutes of a politburo meeting where a decision to expel his client was made.

“What you have is a bunch of useless papers meant to make you believe that there was a vote of no confidence,” Biti said.

He further said Mugabe was cited in the application as a political actor not as the country’s president, contrary to Hussein’s argument that Rule 18 was not followed, adding that a political party was also capable of being sued.

High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu reserved ruling on the preliminary points.

Bhasikiti, who was Mwenezi East National Assembly member, was expelled alongside other Zanu PF stalwarts on May 21 this year for his alleged involvement in a plot to topple Mugabe.

This resulted in Bhasikiti losing his National Assembly seat after the party wrote to the speaker, Jacob Mudenda, notifying him of the expulsion.

Bhasikiti tried in vain to stop his expulsion from Parliament through an urgent application in the High Court which was however, dismissed.