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Hlalo wins court case, fired from MDC-T

by Vusumuzi Dube
19 Oct 2014 at 14:45hrs | Views
THE High Court has barred recently elected MDC-T Bulawayo chairperson Councillor Gift Banda from assuming office after Senator Matson Hlalo successfully contested the results of provincial elections that were presided over by party president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai two weeks ago.

However, the embattled party has reacted by firing the Senator, claiming that he has thrown the party into disrepute by taking the matter to court before exhausting all internal channels.

Sen Hlalo last week approached the courts seeking to overturn the outcome of the party's provincial elections where he lost to Clr Banda by close to 300 votes.

In his application, MDC-T chairperson Mr Lovemore Moyo is cited as the first respondent, Mr Tsvangirai second respondent, MDC-T third respondent, Clr Banda fourth while Moyo, in his personal capacity, is cited as the fifth respondent.

In passing his judgment, High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese noted that Sen Hlalo's proclamation in challenging Clr Banda's period as a bonafide member of the party had substance as the Bulawayo deputy mayor was not eligible to be considered in the race in the first place.

According to the party's constitution, a member should have at least served for five years at district level before contesting any provincial or national post.

"The fourth respondent has no record in serving in any capacity at district level. That much was established in the oral submissions made in this matter. What is alleged is that the fourth respondent was serving somewhere in Bulawayo from the year 2004.

"The service referred to by the fourth respondent apparently refers to being a card carrying member of the party. It is my view that political parties are creatures established in terms of the express provisions of their constitutions. A political organisation must abide by the clear provisions of its constitution," reads part of the order.

Further, the judge questioned the validity of a membership card produced by Clr Banda, purporting that he has been a member of the party since 2004, noting that while it reflected payment in United State dollars, the country by then had not started using the multi-currency system.

"There has been no supporting affidavit from any branch, district or provincial official in Bulawayo province supporting the fourth respondent's assertion that he joined the party in 2004. This appears curious. It seems to me that the complainants raised regarding the fourth respondent's length of service in the party do have substance," said Justice Makonese.

He further noted that it was highly unlikely that the applicant would get proper redress from the respondents as they had already endorsed Clr Banda's participation in the elections and further recognised him as the chairperson of the province, hence the need for the matter to take a legal route.

In his founding affidavit, Sen Hlalo alleged that the elections that were held on 5 October were marred by violence and a lot of irregularities. He said he had written letters to the national organising committee, chaired by Mr Nelson Chamisa, stating his displeasure in the manner the elections were held.

In his opposing affidavit, Clr Banda refuted any claims of violence saying that if there was any it would have been noted by officials from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions who were overseeing the election process.

"The applicant is going forum shopping. He has not exhausted the domestic proceedings he instituted when he appealed to the first respondent yet he has also instituted review proceedings. I, however, deny the material averments in the affidavit in support of the application for review and his letter of appeal; the allegations that he raises are too general to be comprehensible." argued Clr Banda.

Justice Makonese in his ruling ordered the first, second, third and fifth respondents not to allow Clr Banda to assume the office of being the provincial chairperson, while Clr Banda himself was barred from assuming the duties of the provincial chairperson and ordered to meet the cost of the suit.

Meanwhile, after the passing of the interdict on Friday, the party's national standing committee went on to recommend the expulsion of Sen Hlalo on the grounds of bringing the name of the party into disrepute.

By yesterday the party's national executive meeting was still holed up in a meeting deliberating on the expulsion.

In an interview, the party spokesperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the resolution by the national standing committee.

"Yes the national standing committee made such a resolution but now it is all up to the national executive to endorse this decision," said Mr Mwonzora.

Source - Sunday News