HARARE – Zanu PF activist Sybeth Musengezi who challenged president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy in court was granted Z$30,000 bail on Friday after more than a week in custody.
Musengezi was arrested last week accused of using a false address when he signed as a Zanu PF member in 2012, but his lawyers said this was an attempt by Mnangagwa to strip him of his Zanu PF membership so that he has no legal standing to pursue his court action.
Harare magistrate Yeukai Dzuda said it appeared to him that Musengezi had not supplied “fictitious” addresses to secure Zanu PF membership but it was state informants who did so. He added that Musengezi was eligible for Zanu PF membership.
Musengezi’s lawyer Douglas Coltart said that bail ruling exposed the state’s cooked-up allegations bent on victimising his client for challenging Zanu PF “unconstitutionalism.”
“The magistrate’s finding that Musengezi was eligible for Zanu PF membership really underscores how baseless these charges are because if he was eligible then he could not have defrauded Zanu PF by becoming a member,” Coltart said.
“It really demonstrates that this case is all about persecuting him for being someone who had a different view within the party and who spoke up and took action against unconstitutional practices within the party.”
Musengezi filed a court application last year challenging Mnangagwa’s ascension to Zanu PF leadership following the 2017 military coup that deposed former President Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa’s legal team demanded that the charges be dropped in letters to his lawyers.
Musengezi later revealed that he had received death threats, which he believes were part of a coercive effort to get him to drop his court application.
Musengezi’s court application has inflamed factionalism within Zanu PF. Mnangagwa’s supporters believe Musengezi is being used by another faction to depose him.