THE Attorney General has insisted that Professor Arthur Mutambara remains Deputy Prime Minister despite a High Court ruling that he was not the legitimate leader of the MDC party.
High Court judge Justice Bharat Patel on Tuesday dismissed an application by a group of Mutambara loyalists who had challenged his replacement as MDC leader by Industry and Commerce Minister, Welshman Ncube, at the party’s 2011 congress.
The group, led by Jobert Mudzumwe, Morgan Changamire and other MDC members wanted the court to nullify the leadership changes claiming the congress was conducted in violation of the party’s constitution.
But Justice Patel ruled that the elections were legitimate and that the congress was also above board.
Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, also told state radio that the High Court decision did not affect Mutambara’s position as Deputy Prime Minister.
Tomana said Mutambara was appointed by President Robert Mugabe in terms of Amendment no.19 of the country’s constitution and not the constitution of his party. He said Mutambara could not be recalled from government without the consent Mugabe.
Mudzumwe’s group on Wednesday challenged Justice Patel’s ruling in the Supreme Court.
Summing up his judgement, Patel ruled: “what transpired at the congress in casu was an electoral process.
“I am therefore inclined to conclude that the proceedings under consideration, notwithstanding the absence of any opposition to the candidates nominated, constituted elections in the formal sense, requiring the active involvement of a designated official to preside over the conduct of those elections.”
But the group claimed the judge had misdirected himself.
“The learned judge misdirected himself, such misdirection amounting to a misdirection of law in his interpretation of the (MDC) constitution. The judge in holding that (Ncube) had complied with mandatory provision of the constitution,” they argued in their appeal.
“It is also submitted that the court erred in holding that the provisions of the constitution had not been violated. The court a quo erred and misdirected itself in holding that proper elections were held.
“(And) in any event the elections were presided over by a person who was not constitutionally authorised to do so thus making the outcome null and void. The Appellants pray that the order of the court dismissing application be set aside.”