Mangoma’s lawyer Jacob Mafume yesterday confirmed that he was in the process of filing papers challenging Tsvangirai in his capacity as the MDC-T leader following his suspension and subsequent attempts to take disciplinary action against him. He said the party’s national chairman Lovemore Moyo and secretary-general Tendai Biti would also be cited in the court case, together with the former Premier.
Mafume said he was making minor corrections to Mangoma’s documents which were expected to be submitted to the High Court on Monday.
Mangoma is challenging the legality of the MDC-T national council meeting which was recently called by Tsvangirai to deal with his issue. The national council meeting, whose composition was highly disputed, suspended Mangoma for writing a letter to Tsvangirai urging him to quit as leader of the MDC-T to allow leadership renewal.
“We are challenging the decision of the national council and that our client was not afforded the opportunity to be heard rendering events of that day a nullity from the start,” said Mafume last night.
Mangoma’s legal team argues that there were irregularities in the manner Mangoma’s case was referred to a disciplinary committee.
Mafume also argued that there were lots of interested people in the matter who sat in the meeting that decided his suspension without getting his side of the story.
He said the conduct of respondents contravened section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in relation to the applicant.
Mangoma claimed his woes began when he wrote a letter to Tsvangirai which was supposed to be private correspondence, but unbeknown to him, ended up in the public domain.
He denied ever offering money to Tsvangirai to step down as MDC-T leader, saying the meeting of district chairpersons called by Tsvangirai in February where his alleged sympathisers
took turns to attack him was unconstitutional. Mangoma was later to be attacked on February 15 by angry youths allegedly aligned to Tsvangirai.
“What occurred is the first respondent (Tsvangirai) called an unconstitutional meeting of district chairpersons and the accreditation to the meeting was haphazard and unclear. The meeting had no clear agenda and ended up discussing my issue.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Mangoma was welcome to take Tsvangirai and the party to court.
“We will never stand in the way of anyone who wants to do that. In my opinion as a lawyer, it’s ill-advised and ill-timed,” he said.
Mwonzora said Mangoma was supposed to appear before an independent disciplinary tribunal where he could raise any defence including whether he felt the suspension was irregular.
“Fortunately, the hearing is going to take place before an independent disciplinary tribunal made up of lawyers outside the MDC and they are obviously not members of the national council which he says has issues with,” Mwonzora said.
“If I was his lawyer, I wouldn’t advise him that.”