HARARE - High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday dismissed former Masvingo Provincial State minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti’s appeal challenging his expulsion from Zanu PF.
Mugabe’s lawyer Terence Hussein had opposed Bhasikiti’s application on the basis that he had failed to exhaust internal remedies to resolve the issue and that he had failed to comply with court rules, further arguing that the High Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.
“Finally, recourse to domestic remedies is a less complex and faster process that relieves the applicant of the complexities and controversies of the need to seek leave to sue the first respondent as head of State,” Bhunu ruled yesterday before dismissing Bhasikiti’s application.
“I come to the conclusion that the applicant has prematurely approached this court before exhausting his domestic remedies at his disposal.”
Bhasikiti, who was Mwenezi East Zanu PF National Assembly member, was expelled alongside other Zanu PF stalwarts on May 21 this year for his alleged involvement in a plot to topple President Robert Mugabe.
Bhasikiti, who was represented by Tendai Biti, had approached the High Court seeking a review of Zanu PF’s decision to expel him.
Bhunu yesterday said that Zanu PF was a political party with its own constitution that has disciplinary measures comprising an elaborate system of review and appeal procedures.
Bhunu said that according to the party’s constitution, the Central Committee had the powers to review or amend the decision of the national disciplinary committee.
“It is clear that the party constitution provides the same remedy that the applicant is seeking in this court in the form of a review,” Bhunu said.
He said when Bhasikiti joined Zanu PF, he freely and voluntarily elected to be bound by its constitution, adding that the former MP should have exhausted all the domestic remedies before approaching the court.
“The exhaustion of domestic remedies before approaching the courts is a well-known administrative law principle,” Bhunu said.
“It is self-evident that this court has no appeal jurisdiction as it is limited to its review jurisdiction. Domestic remedies have therefore, a clear advantage over this court in that the Central Committee …is clothed with both appeal and review jurisdiction.”
He said domestic remedies are used to avoid the mischief of clogging the courts with matters that can be resolved at party level.
Bhunu downplayed Bhasikiti’s argument that Mugabe chaired the Central Committee and as such could lack fairness in handling the case.
“The law is however very clear that no man shall be a judge in his own case,” Bhunu said.
“I take judicial notice that the first respondent (Mugabe) is an educated man who is unlikely to insist on presiding over a case in which he has a personal interest.”