Plot to remove President ED Mnangagwa from office: Sybeth Musengezi in doghouse

President Mnangagwa and Sybeth Musengezi

Political activist Sybeth Musengezi is on trial, accused of fraudulently obtaining membership in Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party.

As part of the state’s case, Godwills Masimirembwa – the ZANU PF chairman for Harare province – took the stand to testify that investigations found Musengezi was not actually a member of the party.

However, Musengezi’s lawyers argued Masimirembwa’s testimony relied on hearsay rather than firsthand knowledge. They tried to have his evidence excluded, but the prosecutor said it was up to the judge to determine what was admissible.

To back up his claims, Masimirembwa submitted ZANU PF membership registers from 2017 to 2019 which did not list Musengezi as a member. Musengezi’s lawyers objected to the documents, noting Masimirembwa was neither their author nor custodian.

Nonetheless, the magistrate ruled the registers could be entered as evidence, noting they were of a public nature. This allowed Masimirembwa’s testimony to continue.

Masimirembwa said Musengezi’s name also failed to appear on the 2020 and current registers, indicating he was never an actual member. He claimed investigations were launched after Musengezi filed a court challenge questioning President Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

However, Musengezi’s attorneys dismissed Masimirembwa’s testimony, arguing no document proved he represented the party in this case. Though Masimirembwa maintained his position as chairman authorized him to speak on ZANU PF’s behalf.

Cross-examination is scheduled to continue next week, but for now the ZANU PF chairman’s testimony represents the state’s key evidence against the activist accused of obtaining “fake membership” in the ruling party.

Musengezi’s woes started soon after he challenged President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

In his application, Musengezi argued that Mnangagwa unconstitutionally landed the post of first secretary of the ruling party following the toppling of the late former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Zanu PF has dismissed Musengezi’s application as a non-event, noting that he is not a legitimate member of the party. But Musengezi has produced evidence that he is a card-carrying member of the party.

Musengezi’s Harare home was ‘petrol bombed’ in October last year in a suspected arson attack.

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