Dar es Salaam. The High Court in the Dar es Salaam has ruled that Prof Ibrahim Lipumba is legitimately in office as Civic United Front (CUF) national chairman.
The court said the party’s secretary general, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, had no legal mandate to challenge a decision of the Registrar of Political Parties to recognize Mr Lipumba.
The judgement was issued Monday, March 18, 2019, by High Court Judge Benhajj Masoud. The Judge agreed with the objection submitted in the case by the Attorney General on behalf of the Registrar of Political Parties.
The AG questioned the legal basis for Mr Seif challenging Prof Lipumba’s chairmanship on the basis that he lacked backing of the party’s board of trustees. According to the State, only the board of trustees could sue or be sued on behalf of the party.
Today’s ruling thus forestalls the hearing of the main case in which Mr Seif was challenging Prof Lipumba’s headship of the second largest opposition party in the country.
The two leaders have led factions within the party fighting for control for most of the last two years. The feuding parties have had several counter suits filed against each other.
But Judge Masoud’s ruling today is a significant setback for the Seif faction, with Prof Lipumba now assuming the pole decision making position in the party. Prof Lipumba was re-elected chairman last week in an extra-ordinary meeting after which he dislodged Mr Seif.
The Judge noted that most of the arguments were based on the decision taken by the registrar of political parties on the matter. “After going through submissions by all sides and considering previous similar cases, I find that the registrar was right in his decision to recognise Prof Lipumba as CUF’s national chairman because he did so due to powers vested on him,” he said.
It was the registrar’s decision to recognise Prof Lipumba who had resigned from the party in August 2015 that sparked off the standoff with Mr Seif and led to a sharp division of the party.
Last week during the one faction-election, Prof Lipumba’s faction chose Mr Maftah Nachuma as vice chairman (Mainland) and Abbas Juma Muhunzi vice chairman for Zanzibar.
Mr Khalifa Suleiman Khalifa was named as the new secretary general while Ms Magdalena Sakaya retained her seat as deputy secretary general (Mainland) and Mr Fakhi Suleiman Khatibu became the new deputy secretary generals for Zanzibar.