Mnangagwa challenger seeks removal from remand

HARARE – Zanu PF activist Sybeth Musengezi, who last year mounted a bold court challenge against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy and was later charged for allegedly falsifying his home address while obtaining Zanu PF membership, on Friday applied to be removed from remand.

He also insisted on remaining a party member.

Musengezi presented his application before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi who is expected to rule on the application on June 17.

The activist is being charged with fraud after he allegedly misrepresented his residential address to Zanu PF party for personal gains.

Through his lawyer Douglas Coltart, Musengezi said no prejudice will be suffered by Zanu PF from the alleged offence.

“They cannot be any prejudice to the reputation of the Zanu PF party because the misrepresentation is immaterial.

“There are no reasonable grounds for the accused to be placed on remand if we consider this Your Worship,” said the lawyer.

On behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), George Manokore said Musengezi’s request was baseless.

“There is no reason for the accused to make such an application if he had previously consented to be placed on remand,” said the prosecutor.

Police charged Musengezi for fraudulently obtaining Zanu PF membership by registering a false address back in 2012.

His lawyers said the police charges were an attempt to strip him of his Zanu PF membership and therefore his locus standi – one’s right, ability or capacity to bring legal proceedings in a court of law.

Coltart argued that the allegations were not criminal charges and were fabricated to punish his client for challenging Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.

“We consider the charges to be an abusive process and an appalling example of a police force that allows itself to be used by Zanu PF to silence dissenting voices, within Zanu PF itself,” Coltart said.

“The issue raised in the fraud charges, regarding the address used on the forms by which Mr Musengezi became a member of Zanu PF, are not issues of a criminal nature at all.

“They are in fact issues for determination before the court in the civil case that Mr Musengezi has against the president, challenging the president’s legitimacy as the leader of Zanu PF.”

Police said Musengezi’s claim that he lived at 4513 Hatcliffe Extension was an “unlawful misrepresentation” which “prejudiced Zanu PF to reputation and to good administration”.

The house allegedly belongs to one Allen Chisuko.

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