Thursday, January 22, 2015

‘ZANU-PF Vitriol Betrays its Panic’
Ousted ZANU-PF administrative secretary Didymus Mutasa has
challenged the dominant factions remaining in the party.
22nd  January 2015

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF appears to be in panic mode as liberation struggle stalwarts prepare to mount a landmark legal challenge in the High Court against the tearing of the party’s rule book.

Analysts told the Daily News yesterday that the escalating and vitriolic attacks on former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa by party bigwigs, as well as the fact that lickspittle State media had gone into overdrive in a bid to discredit him, betrayed the nervousness around the matter within the leadership of the party.

These sentiments came as State newspapers reported that the mooted challenge was allegedly a futile exercise because it did not have a sound legal standing, amid further claims that former vice president Joice Mujuru’s supporters had allegedly disassociated themselves from the action.

“The vicious attacks (on Mutasa) are par for the course, and the modus operandi of these particular cadres (the attackers). There is not much subtlety to it,” said Piers Pigou, Southern African director of the International Crisis Group.

“And yes, this is about the court of public opinion more than anything else. The divisions beyond the public leadership spats have not been resolved, and the aftershock of the purges are likely to reverberate for some time.

“Some may interpret this as panic by the new incumbents. I also sense that it may reflect their failure to date to maintain the momentum of their purging and reconfiguration of Zanu PF’s hierarchy,” Pigou added.

He said all this raised “profound questions” about Zanu PF’s commitment to the rule of law, and their own rulebook.

“Where is the constitution and exactly what are these processes and amendments? I think Mutasa may have a case to make, but I really don’t think Zimbabwe’s courts are in a position to provide a remedy.

“It would be an important test of their independence and integrity,” Pigou said.

Macdonald Lewanika, executive director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said part of the reason why Zanu PF was panicking was that the challenge was coming from one of their own, who knew all the shenanigans within the movement.

“This is different from a fight brought by outsiders with no inside knowledge. So from a potency perspective, the fact that Mutasa really knows his enemies is one that makes Zanu PF more vulnerable than fights that others have staged and taken to Zanu PF’s door.

“If Zanu PF want to argue the case, let them do so in court and not try to question Mutasa’s issues in the court of public opinion in convoluted fashion, especially if they have nothing to fear.

“On the other hand, knowing how the courts are in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF might be trying to set the tone for an eventual outcome that they know, which is unfortunate for us as a country as it creates the impression that indeed the courts get their brief from those in political power rather than their own independent legal adjudication,” Lewanika said.

Alex Magaisa, a law lecturer at the University of Kent in the UK, said war veterans and Zanu PF cadres were trying to solve “an intensely political matter” using the courts.

He predicted that this would not yield any positive results.

He said there was a great likelihood that the case would be dismissed one way or the other and that the courts would advice Mutasa to seek a political solution.

“His problem is that apart from himself and former (Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare) Gumbo, no one else seems to have come forward to back his cause and that is a huge weakness in the court of politics.

“This is a political issue that requires a political solution and I do not think the courts of law will be of any assistance. Even if the court awards a decision, who will enforce it?

“The possibility that Zanu PF can hold another congress is as remote as the possibility of a nonagenarian becoming a teenager again,” Magaisa said.

Another analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, concurred with Magaisa, adding that the party controlled all institutions of governance, including the judiciary.

“The Herald wants to appeal to the wider pro-Zanu PF audience … anyhow, the only way Mutasa can bust the ring is through evidence that the (contested) votes of no confidence produced illegitimate provincial structures that legitimised constitutional reform.

“In principle, a Mutasa expose that has no hard facts and witnesses has no legal traction,” Ngwenya said.

Contacted for comment, Mutasa and his lawyer Gula Ndebele said they were not at liberty to discuss the matter as it was for the courts to decide.

-Daily News

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