Biti Expels Tsvangirai As Legal Experts Rubbish Ejection As Null, Void

Harare, June 30, 2014 – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been expelled from the party after being found guilty by a three-member tribunal set-up by the MDC Renewal Team to probe a host of allegations levelled against him.

MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo was also expelled alongside Tsvangirai for the role he played in causing problems in the party, among other accusations. The tribunal consisted of lawyers Messrs Gift Nyandoro, Tafadzwa Mugabe and Edwin Hamunakwadi.

A faction led by secretary-general, Tendai Biti, instituted the disciplinary action that saw Tsvangirai facing 17 counts of violating the party’s constitution.

The faction proceeded to expel Tsvangirai and Moyo despite a High Court order on last Friday to stop implementing the Mandel meeting resolutions.

Reads the tribunal verdict; “We, therefore, hold that in terms of the powers bestowed upon us by Article 12.2 of the MDC constitution, respondent (Tsvangirai) be and is hereby expelled from the MDC.

“For our findings above, we are satisfied, on the facts provided before us that the Respondent (Tsvangirai) has committed serious misdemeanours. We have no doubt in our minds that he failed to uphold the Constitution of the MDC, he failed to lead the party, he brought the party into disrepute and he caused divisions and was at the centre of divisions in the party.”

According to the charge sheet, Mr Tsvangirai was accused of; (a) failing to uphold the constitution of the MDC, (b) to oversee and uniting the party, (c) to implement disciplinary proceedings in the party and (d) to ensure primary elections of the party were conducted in a fair and judicious manner.

On  Moyo,  Nyandoro’s team noted: “In the circumstances, we are unanimous that Lovemore Moyo should be expelled from the MDC and we so hold accordingly.”

This comes after Tsvangirai through lawyers Mwonzora and Associates, MDC-T — through Thamsanqa Mahlangu and Moyo — last week filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order barring the Renewal Team from implementing the resolution of the Mandel Training Centre.

The Mandel meeting was held in March this year. The urgent application was filed barely two days after the same faction filed a normal court application seeking to be declared the legitimate custodians of the party and an order compelling the Biti faction to return party assets in its possession.

However, in arriving at its verdict, the tribunal noted that it had carefully considered the “brave role” that  Tsvangirai played in the party.

“However, it is in terms of the evidence provided before us that he (Tsvangirai) has become a liability to the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe. It is clear to us that our function is simply to determine whether misconduct has been proved and what kind of sentence to mete out,” the tribunal said.  The tribunal said the misdemeanours committed were so gross and that the only punishment that met the same was expulsion from the party.

Meanwhile, the expulsion of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and party national chairman Lovemore Moyo by a disciplinary tribunal set up by the Renewal Team led by secretary-general Tendai Biti, is null and void, legal experts said yesterday.

They argued that no one had the power to come up with decisions that superseded a court order.

This comes after Tsvangirai and Moyo were expelled from MDC-T after being found guilty by the tribunal for violating the party’s Constitution and using violence as a political tool.

The disciplinary hearing, led by lawyers Messrs Gift Nyandoro, Tafadzwa Mugabe and Edwin Hamunakwadi went ahead at Mandel Training Centre at the same time the High Court was delivering a ruling stopping the proceedings last Friday. The lawyers concurred that court orders should be obeyed or people risked being charged with contempt of court.

“The basic thing is that people should respect the orders given by our courts. So where there is an order stating a certain action, people should just comply with that order,”  Aston Musunga said.

He said it was not proper for Mr Biti’s faction to go ahead and ignore the court order. “Disregarding court orders can lead to contempt of court proceedings against the party that disobeys the court order,” Musunga said.

Another prominent lawyer Jonathan Samukange, said court orders were supreme and must be followed.

“The court is supreme and when it makes its decision it must be obeyed. The rule of law requires that it must be obeyed especially by the MDC Renewal Team who are saying they want to champion democracy,” he said.

Samukange said the MDC Renewal Team was claiming that it wanted to implement the rule of law and yet there were going against the same rule of law and claimed to be democratic.

“You cannot separate the rule of law and democracy. Rule of law requires that you obey court orders,” he said.

 Samukange described the Biti led disciplinary tribunal hearing as a kangaroo court. Terrence Hussein also agreed with his colleagues saying court orders were supreme and should be followed.

“I think the Renewal Team in proceeding with the hearing after the court interdict makes it null and void as the High Court order takes precedence over all actions be it Parliament, be it the executive,” Hussein said.

Another lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was not proper for the Renewal Team to proceed with the disciplinary hearing.

“It was wrong for them to proceed once the High Court interdict was issued. It means they already had an outcome,” the lawyer said.

 

The Herald