The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Hearing - Biti Defies High Court

THE MDC Renewal Team yesterday defied a High Court order and went ahead with disciplinary hearings on MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo, whereupon a default judgment on the two, to be announced on Monday, was passed.

Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Moyo were facing a slew of charges laid against them by the Renewal Team led by party secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti.

The disciplinary hearing, led by lawyers Mr Gift Nyandoro and Tafadzwa Mugabe, went ahead at Mandel Training Centre at the same time the High Court was delivering a ruling stopping the proceedings.

MDC Renewal Team spokesperson Mr Jacob Mafume said they did not recognise the High Court ruling as they had not been served with the relevant court papers.

"The tribunal sat at 10am and all parties were advised to come, but Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Moyo did not turn up and a default judgment was given," he said.

"We have been told that they went to court seeking interim relief so that they remain on suspension pending the hearing of the matter before the High Court. However, the tribunal and the other parties have not been served with the papers.

"We proceeded as if nothing happened until a time we are served with the papers."

Mr Mafume added: "We have not seen the application or the judgment. We believe that before a judgment was passed we should have been served such that we file our papers. But if they have been granted an interim relief we shall proceed by putting our papers if that application applies to us."

Mr Tsvangirai's camp, through Mr Thamsanqa Mahlangu and Mr Lovemore Moyo, had approached the High Court on Thursday evening seeking an order barring the Renewal Team from implementing the resolution of the Mandel Training Centre meeting of April 26 this year.

Justice Zhou yesterday ruled in favour of Mr Tsvangirai's camp, saying the balance of convenience favoured the embattled opposition party leader in view of the circumstances surrounding the feud between the two hostile camps.

He granted the provisional order which the MDC-T leader had sought to stop the hearing until the dispute pitting his camp and Mr Biti's camp was determined.

"Interim relief is granted on the following, respondent or any other persons claiming through them or acting on their instruction be and are hereby interdicted from proceeding with any disciplinary proceedings against the third applicant (Tsvangirai) or any other office bearers of the second respondent on June 27 2014 or some other time in pursuant to the resolution of a meeting held at Mandel Training Centre on April 20 2014," said Justice Zhou sitting his chambers.

Mr Tsvangirai's faction filed the urgent application barely two days after it filed a normal court application seeking to be declared the legitimate custodians of the party and an order compelling the Biti faction to return party assets in its possession.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said Mr Tsvangirai's faction was happy that he was no longer compelled to be disciplinary by the Renewal Team.

"We are happy because dragging president Tsvangirai to a hearing of another political party was illegal and unfair," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai was recently summoned by Mr Biti's faction to appear before a disciplinary committee facing 17 counts of violating the party's constitution, while Mr Moyo faced four counts, which included failure to conduct free and fair primary elections before last year's harmonised polls.

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