New Zimbabwe (London)

8 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Mangoma Suspension Above Board - MDC-T

OPPOSITION MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora has dismissed allegations by the party's Secretary General Tendai Biti that the suspension of Elton Mangona was null and void.

Mangoma, who is party deputy treasurer general, was suspended Friday pending a full disciplinary hearing into allegations of bringing the name of the opposition party into disrepute. Mangoma stands accused of publicly telling MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to resign, allegations his party says were deliberately aimed at embarrassing the former Prime Minister.

Biti, also believed to be a silent sponsor of the MDC-T "renewal movement", immediately said the decision was unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

However, Mwonzora said the party's national council meeting made its decision based on information made available by national chairman, Lovemore Moyo, adding that no officials, including Biti, raised any objections during the stormy meeting.

"The National Council is not a Disciplinary Committee and therefore there was no need for Honourable Mangoma to make any representations to the National Council because that will be pre-empting the Disciplinary Committee and that the matter is now being referred to the Independent Disciplinary Committee which is made up of three lawyers outside the MDC," said Mwonzora.

He added that the chairperson of the Independent Disciplinary Committee "will be qualified to be the judge of the High Court. This ensures that the decision is impartial and professional".

According to Mwonzora, charges against Mangoma were very serious and there was need for an independent body to deal with the case.

"During the disciplinary proceedings, Hon. Mangoma can raise any defence on the substance of the charges or on any technical issues that may be beneficial to the defence. What is not acceptable is for some people to try to stop the disciplinary process because that is not democratic," he said.

"Formal charges together with supporting evidence would be made available to Mangoma and his defence team. In particular Hon. Mangoma will be allowed a representative of his choice during the disciplinary proceedings.

"The MDC stands for the rule of law, transparency, justice, fairness and democracy. This calls on leaders to subject themselves to due process once allegations are raised against them.

"It will be wrong for any person to try to stop the law from taking its course where a senior member has been accused of serious charges."

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