FORMER House of Assembly member and MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe is suing Parliament for damages following her expulsion from the House after she was recalled by the Nelson Chamisa led MDC party in April this year.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Through her lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, Khupe told the full Constitutional (ConCourt) bench headed by Chief Justice Luke Malaba that the Chamisa-led MDC party violated its own constitution by recalling her, and as such Parliament ought not to have expelled her in the manner it did.
Madhuku made the submissions while responding to Justice Malaba’s question which sought to establish whether or not Khupe’s application before the court had not been overtaken by events of the July 2018 harmonised elections or if it was a moot case.
Khupe was recalled by the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC-T in April this year, after she lost a three-way power struggle that also involved another party deputy president, Elias Mudzuri, following the death of founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai, in February this year.
The MDC-T’s national council appointed Chamisa acting party president and a disaffected Khupe branched off with her supporters to form her own MDC-T party.
Madhuku submitted that the application was not a moot case, but wanted the ConCourt to make a determination, given that his client was prejudiced of her benefits when she was “unceremoniously” expelled, adding she was mulling suing for damages.
“This is not a moot case, because if it is established that she was unconstitutionally expelled, she will be entitled to her benefits…she lost her benefits in terms of salary and allowances. She can sue for damages against the second respondent (Parliament) if it is established that she was not constitutionally removed,” Madhuku said.
But Madhuku’s submissions were challenged by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who is representing the House of Assembly and its Speaker Jacob Mudenda. Mpofu urged the court to dismiss the application on the basis that there was no dispute to be resolved by the court.
“There is no dispute to be resolved in this matter and as such the court cannot deal with it. If the first applicant (Khupe) claims she unlawfully lost her seat in Parliament, she can bring her claim for damages to the High Court and not to seek pronouncement of this court. As far as the first and second respondent (Speaker of Parliament) is concerned, there is no dispute between the parties,” Mpofu said.
After all the parties presented their arguments, Justice Malaba, in concurrence with all the other judges, reserved judgment in the matter.
Khupe, who was an MDC-T Proportional Representation Member of Parliament, was expelled from the august house after Chamisa wrote to Mudenda that she no longer represented the opposition party’s interests.