MDC leadership drama goes to Supreme Court

By Thabani Zwelibanzi

The MDC has filed its papers at the Supreme Court challenging Justice Edith Mushore’s High Court ruling that Nelson Chamisa was not the party’s legitimate leader and that it must hold an extraordinary congress.

In the appeal filed by Thabani Mpofu, MDC raised 11 points where they say Mushore erred in her ruling in favour of Elias Mashavira, who successfully argued that Chamisa was not the rightful leader of the party.

The appeal cites the MDC as the first appellant, Chamisa second and Morgen Komichi third.

Mashavira, MDC vice president, Elias Mudzuri, MDC-T leader, Thokozani Khupe and MDC secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora are listed as respondents.

Among the party’s arguments is that Mushore was wrong to say the reference to “deputy presidents” in the MDC constitution was a typographical error and instead she should have heard evidence on the matter.

In her ruling, Mushore said the reference to “deputy presidents” in the MDC constitution was a clear error and the party’s charter had envisaged that there only be one deputy president.

By so doing, Mpofu argues that Mushore had literally written a constitution for the MDC.

“The court aquo (lower court) erred in concluding that the appointment of deputy presidents in the first appellant (MDC) was in accordance with the constitution of that party, had been mandated by Congress and the highest decision making organ outside Congress and was for all purposes valid as a unanimous decision of a voluntary association,” the appeal continues.

Mpofu further argues that the matter of the MDC deputy presidents had been addressed in a previous judgement and the court erred in allowing that the issue to be re-opened.

In addition, Mpofu said Mushore’s ruling was based on a constitution that is “alien” to the MDC.

He further said the MDC has internal remedies that Mashavira did not exhaust and thus the court should not have heard his case.

Mpofu said, in any case, the MDC congress was due and the court had erred by “finagling upon that party an extraordinary congress and so erred in creating a totally untenable position, which is at variance with” the party’s constitution and is “totally unworkable either in fact or in law”.

Mpofu described Mashavira as a “dishonestly disgruntled individual”, whom the High should not have ruled in his favour.

Earlier in May, the High Court ruled that Chamisa was not the legitimate leader of the MDC and that all decisions he had taken were null and void, opening the door for Khupe to claim the presidency of the party.

The MDC is set to hold its congress at the weekend, where Chamisa is expected to be confirmed as its leader.

However, another court challenge has been filed seeking to stop Congress.

On his end, Chamisa declared that the Gweru congress would go ahead, “no matter what, nomakanjani”.

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