THE unfolding $50 million lawsuit threatening to split Zanu PF in the Midlands has taken a new twist with Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who was in charge of the divisive internal polls, distancing himself from the damning dossier penned by provincial chairperson Jaison Machaya’s chief election agent Douglas Kanengoni.
Auxillia Mnangagwa (wife of politburo guru Emmerson Mnangagwa), July Moyo, Douglas Tapfuma, Owen Ncube and Daniel Makenzie Ncube filed a defamation case at the High Court demanding $10 million each last year after the party’s Midlands provincial elections following a scathing dossier written by Kanengoni alleging they were involved in a ploy to rig the polls.
Through his lawyers Chuma, Gurajena and Partners, Bhasikiti said he had received, but did not associate himself with the petition from Kanengoni alleging massive fraud and unethical conduct by the five senior provincial party members.
Bhasikiti said he had dismissed Kanengoni’s report and did not at any time act or associate himself with it.
“The petition inter alia, requested that results of certain areas supervised by Auxillia, Moyo, Tapfuma and the two Ncube’s be rejected. This request was rejected and the results accepted,” Bhasikiti said through his lawyers.
“Defendant therefore denies that he associated himself with the contents of the petition as alleged or at all.”
However, in an earlier defence entered on behalf of Bhaisikiti, Machaya and Kanengoni, lawyers Sachikonye-Ushe Legal Practitioners claimed that Bhasikiti had investigated the rigging claims and found them to be true and acted on them.
“He was in charge of the elections in the Midlands and as such was obliged to verify whether what was alleged by Kanengoni was true. Upon conducting investigations into the complaint raised through the petition, he discovered that the complaint had merit.
“He then moved to swiftly correct the anomalies raised in the petition to the dissatisfaction of the plaintiffs,” the Sachikonye-Ushe plea reads.
Bhasikiti in his own separate defence denied that his actions were in any way influenced by the petition by Kanengoni, but guided by party practice.
“The defendant (Bhasikiti) further denies that his actions as stated in paragraph 3 were defamatory of the plaintiffs, nor that his action was influenced by the petition stated.
“He will aver that his activities in deploying a new team were guided by practice of the party and not the petition,” Bhasikiti’s lawyers further submitted.