FORMER vice president Phelekezela Mphoko has failed to respond to the High Court application by a Zanu PF official challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.
Zanu PF youth member, Sybeth Musengezi last month filed the High Court application seeking the nullification of the party’s 19th November 2017 Special Session Central Committee meeting which elected Mnangagwa.
In the application, Musengezi cited Mphoko and the party’s former secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo.
Other respondents are Zanu PF, Mnangagwa, Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu and Patrick Chinamasa, the party’s acting political commissar.
Chombo has already ignored the application while Mphoko also failed to file his opposing papers following the expiry of filing deadline last week Friday.
Although Zanu PF, Mnangagwa, Chinamasa and Mpofu have jointly filed their opposing papers, their lawyers last week wrote to Musengezi demanding that he withdraws the case within seven days or face heavy legal costs.
Musengezi lawyers confirmed that Mphoko failed to tender his opposing affidavits, an indication which the lawyers say the former vice president is in agreeable with the applicant.
“I can confirm that Mr Mphoko has not opposed our client’s application. He is now the second respondent to ignore the application after Mr Chombo also failed to do so. So basically, what this means is that the two respondents have no objections to issues raised in the application,” said Nqobani Sithole, one of Musengezi lawyers in an interview with Newzimbabwe.
Following the November 17, 2017, military coup which ousted longtime ruler Robert Mugabe, Chombo was arrested by soldiers while Mphoko briefly sought political asylum in neibhouring Botwsana before he come back.
He was later arrested on charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly instructed some junior police officers to release from cells former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive, Moses Juma.
Musengezi is arguing that the November 19, 2017 Zanu PF central committee which appointed Mnangagwa as the party ‘s president and first secretary was in violation of the party’s constitution and therefore unlawful and null and void ablnito.
“This is a court application in terms of Section 14 of the High Court Act Chapter 7:06 for declaratory orders and consequential relief in the following terms, a declaratur that the special session of the central committee of the 1st respondent convened on the 19th of November 2017 at the party’s headquarters in Harare from 10: 00 to 16 :00 hours was ultra vires the provisions of the Constitution of the 1st respondent and therefore unlawful and null and void ablnito.
“A declaratur that all the resolutions of the special session of the Central Committee of the 1st respondent passed at the unlawful meeting concerned on the 19th of November 2017 are unlawful, invalid and accordingly set aside,” reads part of Musengezi’s application.
He is also praying for an order directing Mphoko in his capacity as the lawful vice president and second secretary of the 1st respondent (Zanu PF) prior to the 19 of November 2017 to take all the necessary steps in terms of the 1st respondents’ constitution.
He also wants Mphoko to convene and preside over a special extraordinary congress of the 1st respondent for the purpose of regularising the top leadership positions in the 1st respondent within three months of the granting of the order.