Court reserves judgment on MDC leadership wrangle
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved judgment on the case set to give finality to the MDC leadership wrangle between Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe.
Nelson Chamisa filed an appeal with the Supreme Court after losing a case in which MDC Gokwe-Sesame District Chairperson Elias Mashavira was disputing the legality of his ascension after Morgan Tsvangirai’s death.
Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Douglas Mwonzora were cited as Chamisa’s co-respondents. Mudzuri and Mwonzora were recused after the bench and all involved lawyers agreed they no longer hold the material positions they did at the time the initial case was filed.
Chamisa, through his lawyer, Thabani Mpofu had made an application for
withdrawal of their appeal against all respondents except Mashavira, arguing that the activist was the only interested respondent.
Khupe however insisted that she had interest in the outcome of the case and wanted to continue participating. A three-member bench constituting Justice Barat Patel, Paddington Garwe and Antonio Guvava heard arguments from the legal representatives of the interested parties.
Khupe was represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Chamisa was
represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, while Mashavira was represented by Ashell Mutungura.
In his argument, Mutungura said Chamisa and his National Executive flouted the party’s constitution.
“After the death of Morgan Tsvangirai there was supposed to be an
extraordinary congress in one year to decide the leader but that did not happen. This makes the processes that followed and the leadership that decided on it null,” Mutungura said.
Chamisa’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu argued that the time to correct the anomalies through declaring an extraordinary congress has since lapsed.
“We are having conversations over spilt milk. What happened was overtaken by legal events like the Gweru Congress which saw Nelson Chamisa being elected party president. A judgment that seeks to declare an extraordinary congress would be impractical,” Mpofu said.
Khupe’s lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku argued that contrary to what
Chamisa’s defence claimed, his client had not moved on from the affairs of the party left behind by Morgan Tsvangirai.
“My client was forced out by a group of people who illegally assumed leadership and made it difficult for her to continue functioning in their proximity.
The fact that she is still coming to court shows she is interested. When Tsvangirai died, the congress elected deputy was supposed to assume office
leading to an extraordinary congress and that person is Thokozani Khupe,”
MDC Alliance Deputy Spokersperson Luke Tamborinyoka told ZTN that despite the outcome, they recognise Nelson Chamisa as their leader.
“We will not get our party leadership from a court, as far as we are concerned, this court case is inconsequential,” said Tamborinyoka.