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THE High Court has blocked the expulsion of Elias Mudzuri and other MDC members who were suspended by their leader Douglas Mwonzora recently ruling that the law relied upon in doing this was constitutionally invalid.
Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa declared that Clause 11 of the resolution made by the Movement for Democratic Change (Tsvangirai)’s congress on January 21 2023 constitutionally defective.
The clause says that members of the party who take matters to the court and the media before exhausting internal remedies shall have automatically expelled themselves from and terminated their membership of the party.
Munangati’s ruling follows a court application by Mudzuri seeking a declarutur after he was dismissed for violating the party’s constitution by dragging Mwonzora to court to challenge his re-election on December 18, 2022.
Mudzuri was fired together with, Norest Marara, Edwin Kakora, Gift Konjana, Den Moyo and Edwin Dzambara who are also plaintiffs in the court case.
In their application filed on February 14 at the High Court, Mudzuri and colleagues cited the party, Mwonzora, party chairman Morgan Komichi, and MDC-T Secretary General Paurina Mupariwa Gwanyanya as the respondents.
In his affidavit, Mudzuri argued that the resolution removed his right to approach the court to have any dispute resolved.
“The effect of this clause is that the 1st respondent’s (MDC-T) member’s constitutional right to approach the courts for resolution of any grievances against the party would be effectively ousted as members will be faced with an automatic dismissal. It grossly ousters our right to protection of the law in terms of s56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In any event, even if there had been a legitimate congress, the Council does not have the power to make such a resolution,” he said.
The High court upheld their application.
“It is ordered that Clause 11 of the purported resolution of the 1st respondent dated 21 January 2023 by the Congress of the 1st respondent be and is hereby declared inconsistent with the right to a fair hearing and access to courts in terms of section 69 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and a right to equal protection of the law in terms of section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Mudzuri had sought a declarator to have the clause declared inconsistent with the right to a fair hearing.
Mudzuri had also accused Mwonzora and the other members of changing the resolution to chase him out of the party.
“The malice is evident in that at every turn of being corrected or directed as to the correct procedure they turn to even more unlawful procedure in an attempt to sanitize their overall intention to dismiss me from the membership of the first respondent (MDC).
“What boggles the mind is the fact that this current attempt is premised on a purported resolution that was supposedly passed on the 21st of January 2023. This was before the granting of the court’s order of the 2nd of February 2023 which the same 1st to 4th Respondents’ legal practitioner did not challenge.
“It is therefore appropriate that this Honourable court intervenes and brings an end to the respondents’ unprocedurally and unlawful conduct which also amounts to contempt of an extant court order under HC 665/23.
“The court cannot condone a blatant disregard of its own decision and the rights afforded in the national constitution, especially a right to access the court,” he submitted.