High Court stops People’s Democratic Party recalls

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The High Court yesterday stopped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) faction led by Lucia Matibenga from recalling Harare mayor Jacob Mafume and councillors for Mutare and Bulawayo.

This was after Mafume and the councillors, Simon Chabuka and Arnold Dube for Mutare and Bulawayo respectively, approached the court seeking to interdict Local Government minister July Moyo, the Harare City Council and one Benjamin Rukanda from acting on a letter written on September 14 which purported that their positions were now vacant because they had been recalled by PDP.
Rukanda wrote the recall letter.
Justice Webster Chinamora granted the interdict by consent after lawyers representing the ministry and council did not oppose the application.
Rukanda did not show up and a check at the address he had provided was fruitless after it was established that he did not live at the premises.
Tonderai Bhatasara, who was being instructed by Givemore Madzoka, appeared for the applicants, while James Mutizwa and Tinashe Chiriseri represented the respondents, except Rukanda.
“The minister, through his legal counsel, indicated that he was not opposed to the relief that was being sought and City of Harare said it undertook to abide by any order granted by the court,” Bhatasara said.
“However, Rukanda could not attend court and we know why. He is not a bona fide member of the PDP and has no genuine reason to have written the letter.
“As a result, the judge granted the application. The effect of the order is to basically make sure that there is no recalling or declaration of a vacancy within these three constituencies. As a result, the mayor will remain the mayor and the same applies for the councillors.”
In the application, PDP secretary-general Settlement Chikwinya had urged the courts not to accept any submissions from Rukanda because he was not known in the party.
He described Rukanda’s conduct as an affront to constitutionalism which could make the public lose confidence in electoral processes.
“The letter by Rukanda is meant to cause confusion. It has since come to my attention that Rukanda has always been an imposter bent on causing divisions in PDP. I aver that there is no legal basis for minister Moyo to give consideration to a fraudulent letter,” Chikwinya said.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende has effectively been removed from remand in a case he was accused of inciting the public to overthrow the constitutionally elected government through posts on Twitter.
Hwende had approached the High Court on review after Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa had dismissed his application for further remand refusal 19 months after he was placed on remand and without going to trial.

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