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Another twist in the Tsvangirai, Biti saga

Tendai Biti’s faction of the Movement for Democratic Change yesterday went ahead with its disciplinary hearing against suspended party leader Morgan Tsvangirai despite a High Court ruling blocking the hearing until the case brought by Tsvangirai seeking to stop the hearing and control of the party and its assets had been finalised. Biti’s faction said the hearing went ahead at Mandel Training Centre but Tsvangirai and party chairman Lovemore Moyo did not turn up. MDC Renewal Team spokesman Jacob Mafume said a default judgment was issued against Tsvangirai. Mafume said his party did not recognise the High Court ruling because they had not been served with the relevant papers. “We have been told that they went to court seeking interim relief so that they remain on suspension pending the hearing of the matter before the High Court. However, the tribunal and the other parties have not been served with the papers. We proceeded as if nothing happened until a time we are served with the papers…We have not seen the application or the judgment. We believe that before a judgment was passed we should have been served such that we file our papers. But if they have been granted an interim relief we shall proceed by putting our papers if that application applies to us.” It is not clear whether the Biti faction’s action will be considered contempt of court or not but it means that the court battle is still on and the joy from the Tsvangirai faction could be short-lived. The Biti faction is staffed with lawyers. Mafume and Biti are both lawyers. With the matter now being handled by the courts, popularity stakes have been swept aside.

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