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Chief Charumbira denies supporting Zanu PF, says couldn’t obey court order as he was in SA

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By Staff Reporter

Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira who last month failed to meet a High Court seven day ultimatum to renounce his support for Zanu PF, is now challenging a default order issued by Justice Clement Phiri.

The Election Resource Centre early this year approached the High Court arguing Charumbira’s utterances were unconstitutional.

It is alleged that on 28 October 2017, Charumbira told a meeting of traditional leaders also attended by then President Robert Mugabe that support for the former Zanu PF leader was guaranteed.

“As Chiefs we agreed during the 2014 congress that Comrade Mugabe is our candidate for the 2018 elections. We are all united and he is still our candidate. We have been supporting him and we can confirm that winning is guaranteed,” Charumbira reportedly said.

It is this statement that he is now arguing meant the traditional leaders would support the government of the day and not a specific political party. Charumbira has now approached the High Court to overturn a default order issued in early May.

“That the order of this Honourable Court dated 9 May 2018 in case number HC1718/18 be and is hereby rescinded and set aside.

“The Applicants herein, the Respondents in the principle proceedings be granted leave to file opposing papers to the court application within a period of five days from the date of the granting of this order,” the traditional leaders’ boss said.

“I am not sure as to what exact date the papers in the principle proceedings were served on me. However during the period when the papers were served, owing to my duties as president of 2nd Applicant (Chief’s Council) and as a member of Parliament of Zimbabwe, I was in and out of the country.”

Charumbira claims that he spent a week in South Africa in March and also travelled in April hence he was unable to file opposing papers.

The chief also argues that the papers in the original case were served at Parliament during the period the National Assembly was in recess so “I did not get immediate knowledge of the papers.”

“When the papers were brought to my attention the 10 day period within which opposing papers must have been filed had already gone by,” argued Charumbira.

He then accused constitutional law expert and opposition NCA presidential aspirant Lovemore Madhuku of disappearing with his papers.

“I instructed Mr Lovemore Madhuku to take appropriate action to ensure that I would file opposing papers. He declined to assist me but indicated that he was going to get another firm of legal practitioners to represent me. I, however, was not advised as to which firm this was going to be. He took away the papers with him and that was the last time I heard from him,” added Charumbira.

According to the application, Charumbira avers that he has broken no law in his personal capacity.

“The averments which I am alleged to have uttered were not made by me in my personal capacity,” he said. “In any case the Applicant completely misunderstood the remarks in the statement. They were totally taken out of context. If entire statement were read together, it actually confirms that as Chiefs we simply agreed that we would support the government of the day in discharging our functions.”