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High Court Blocks Tsvangirai Disciplinary Hearing

Warring Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) faction leaders, Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai. (AP Photos/Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo)

The High Court today has ordered a rival faction of the MDC-T calling itself the MDC Renewal Team from subjecting party president and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to a disciplinary hearing on charges of violating the opposition’s constitution and using violence against political opponents.

Following submissions by both parties last night, High Court judge, Happias Zhou, today granted an interim relief to the MDC-T, represented by party chairman Lovemore Moyo and national executive member Thamsanga Mahlangu, barring a rival faction led by expelled secretary general Tendai Biti to subject Mr. Tsvangirai to a disciplinary hearing that was set for today.

Justice Zhou ruled that the Biti faction of the MDC-T must not implement any of the resolutions of their National Council meeting held at Mandel Training Centre in April this year, which suspended Mr. Tsvangirai and five other top officials, until a case brought by the Tsvangirai faction challenging the legality of that meeting is finalized by the court.

The Tsvangirai faction is also seeking to be declared the legitimate custodians of the party and want the Biti camp to return party assets.

The judge set aside any proceedings that may have been instituted after the Mandel meeting until the finalization of the same matter. He also ordered the Biti faction to pay the costs of the lawsuit.

The MDC Renewal Team had sought to bring Mr. Tsvangirai before a disciplinary committee to answer to 17 counts of allegedly violating the MDC constitution and using violence against political opponents.

The Biti faction also accuses Mr. Tsvangirai of unilaterally deciding to take part in the unity government without consulting the party’s National Council.

The MDC-T lawyer Douglas Mwonzora welcomed the court ruling.

Mwonzora, who is also the spokesperson of the MDC-T, said Biti and his group were intending to subject his party leader to a kangaroo court.

Attorney Lovemore Madhuku did not attend the court proceedings today while efforts to reach the spokesperson of the MDC Renewal Team, Jacob Mafume, were fruitless as his mobile phone was switched off.

In other court news, the editor of Sunday Mail, Edmund Kudzayi, who is facing terrorism charges, will spend more time in jail after prosecutors failed to file its response to his bail application.

State counsel, Tawanda Zvekare, said Kudzayi’s application was contained in a voluminous document, adding that the state needed more time to study its contents. He told the court that the state would be ready to file its response on July 1st.

High Court judge, Ester Muremba, then postponed the matter to July 3rd after Kudzayi’s lawyer, Everson Chatambudza, indicated that the defense would submit an answering affidavit to the state’s response if the prosecution files its response on the date that it proposed.

Kudzayi and his elder brother, Philip, were remanded in custody on allegations that they were running a shadowy Facebook page, Baba Jukwa, that is critical of Zanu PF.

But Edmund Kudzayi, who claims to be an information technology expert, is denying that he conspired with Phillip to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government and published or communicated falsehoods that are prejudicial to the state.

The Sunday Mail editor says he was being victimized, adding that some un-named top Zanu PF officials, whom he accuse of leaking information to the original Baba Jukwa, masterminded his arrest for fear that he would expose them in a bid to impress President Robert Mugabe following the president’s claim that there weevils who were destroying Zanu PF from within.