…as High Court throws out congress challenge
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday finally appealed against a High Court judgment which nullified his leadership of the opposition party ahead of the elective congress which starts in Gweru today. This came as the High Court also dismissed an application for a prohibition order to stop the gathering.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA /CHARLES LAITON/XOLISANI NCUBE
Justice Edith Mushore early this month ruled as illegal the way Chamisa and co-vice-president Elias Mudzuri were appointed by the opposition party’s late founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and ordered the party to hold an extraordinary congress in a case brought by Gokwe Sesame district party member, Elias Mashavira.
On Wednesday night, Maureen Tawengwa, who was a secretary for Gokwe Sesame district under the 2014 structures, filed an urgent application seeking an order to stop the MDC congress from going ahead.
But Justice Mushore refused to grant the interdict and ruled that the matter was not urgent.
“The matter has been dismissed as not being urgent. So basically the congress goes ahead as planned,” MDC lawyer Thabani Mpofu told NewsDay.
Mpofu also filed the MDC appeal against Mushore’s earlier judgment at the Supreme Court, seeking to have the ruling set aside.
“The court erred in violation of appellant’s constitutional right to be heard before an independent and impartial court as envisaged by section 62 (9) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” part of the appeal read.
Chamisa further contends that Mashavira, having campaigned for him and worked in party structures while he was vice-president and presidential candidate, he lost the right to challenge the appointments made by Tsvangirai.
“The court misdirected itself, such misdirection amounting to an error at law in finding that Mashavira’s participation in the activities of the MDC under the leadership of Chamisa and the duration of the same stopped him against contending the validity of his appointment to the prejudice of the MDC,” the lawyers submitted.
Chamisa also wants the court to allow internal remedies to be used to settle the disputes of the MDC before they can be taken to court.
He argues that Mashavira never at tempted to use internal remedies provided for by the party to settle disputes and instead rushed to the courts.
In his application, which cited Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and Mudzuri as respondents, Chamisa said the judge used a constitution that did not belong to the MDC to arrive to her ruling, making the judgment unsound.
“The question of the proper constitution of the MDC having been previously resolved to an extant judgment in a matter which involved same parties or at least privies, the court allowed that the issues be reopened and in founding its judgment on a constitution that is foreign to the MDC,” his lawyers submissions read.
Tawengwa had also urged the High Court to bar today’s congress, saying the political party cannot be dragged to an event without a legitimate president constitutionally-elected into office.
In her application, Tawengwa referred to Chamisa’s administration as “illegitimate MDC members” who want to put the good name of the political party to shame by holding an illegitimate congress.
Tawengwa further noted that following the death of Tsvangirai in February 2018, the latter’s death created only one vacancy that needed to be filled. She said the vacancy should have been filled by an extra-ordinary congress in terms of article 9.21.1 of the party’s constitution.