MDC Alliance leaders and former office bearers of the opposition party yesterday rallied behind their beleaguered president Nelson Chamisa after the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that he had assumed office illegally.
BY MOSES MATENGA/DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The court ruled that Thokozani Khupe was the legitimate leader of the MDC, albeit in an acting capacity.
Vice-president Welshman Ncube said the ruling had no effect on the processes that gave birth to the MDC Alliance, which elected Chamisa as its leader at its congress in Gweru last year.
“The lie that whomever is the president of the MDC-T is president or leader of the MDC Alliance is being propagated by desperate charlatans,” Ncube said on his Twitter handle yesterday .
“Clause 3.1 of the Alliance agreement only provided that Tsvangirai would be the Alliance presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
“In the event of the unavailability of Tsvangirai the Alliance agreement provided that the MDC-T would nominate the presidential candidate, subject to the approval of MDC Alliance partners. Chamisa was so nominated and approved.”
He said some of the provisions of the agreement were now irrelevant after the elections.
“To then proceed to issue an order attempting to unscramble the eggs and reconstitute back to February 14, 2018 the MDC-T component of the omelette is to order the impossible. It just cannot be done,” he said.
“Thus the eggs were broken, scrambled and made into an omelette and hence the acceptance by the Supreme Court that the questions before it were moot and academic.”
Alliance executives stampeded to voice their support for Chamisa.
“Khupe participated in the harmonised elections representing her party (MDC-T) and has two Members of Parliament. She has her different party from ours. We held our congress in May 2019 and we are not going back. The Supreme Court ruling is useless to us, we do not follow those orders because they do not refer to us,” national executive member and Binga South Member of Parliament Gabuza Joel Gabbuza, who was the provincial chairperson in 2014, said.
“After Khupe destroyed Matabeleland North structures to form her own party, I was appointed by the Chamisa-led national executive. We don’t recognise any other illegal leadership other than the Gweru congress outcome in which (Morgen) Komichi and (Douglas) Mwonzora participated and lost.”
Party organising secretary Amos Chibaya, suspended Masvingo provincial chairperson, James Gumbi, Piniel Denga (Mashonaland East), Francisco Masendeke, former Midlands South provincial chairperson, Senator Voice Chinake, Murisi Zwizwai and Paurina Mupariwa also threw their weight behind Chamisa.
“I have not read the Supreme Court ruling, but what I can tell you at the moment is that I rally behind president Chamisa. I stand with our leadership that was elected in Gweru congress in May 2019 led by Chamisa. We might have our issues as a province, it is internal, but our support for our leadership remains unequivocal,” Bulawayo provincial chairman Gift Banda said.
MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele said the MDC’s deputy secretary for international affairs, Mwonzora and the party’s secretary for presidential affairs, Komichi had effectively expelled themselves from the party, joining Khule’s side in the fight to wrest power from Chamisa.
“Yes, on the face of it, they have expelled themselves, but the MDC has a constitution and disciplinary processes under the constitution, which will be followed,” Molokele said in a Facebook interview yesterday.
He ruled out prospects of talks with Khupe, accusing her of effectively working with Zanu PF.
“We cannot work with Khupe. She is now an extension of Zanu PF. It is too late,” Molokele said.
Responding to suggestions that Khupe could recall MDC Alliance MPs, Molokele said this was not possible because the legislators contested under the MDC Alliance ticket, and not MDC-T.
The real battle, Molokele said, was for the leadership of Zimbabwe between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chamisa.
“Please note, this is a political process and not a judicial process or a legal process, so expect many surprises as time goes on.
This is a political battle for the leadership of Zimbabwe between president Nelson Chamisa and ED and ED has enlisted members of the opposition to support him to remain in power as President. That is the real issue and we must not lose focus on that.”
He said the MDC Alliance failed to access its party headquarters on Tuesday after police besieged the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House hours before the court judgment “as if they were aware of the outcome”.
But Komichi yesterday maintained the party was heading for an extra-ordinary congress in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, and advised Chamisa to contest for the party leadership, saying he had high chances of winning it considering his popularity.
He said all the fight was over adherence to the party’s constitution and “right the wrongs” of the party takeover post-Tsvangirai.
“I would encourage Cde Chamisa to take up that offer,” Komichi said.
“He is a popular guy, he has shown what he can do and what he cannot do for the last two years and people will definitely respect him and he might surprise people and win professionally in this legal battle.”
On why he was already in possession of a prepared speech ahead of the Supreme Court ruling, Komichi said the judgment was already known to him.
“Who didn’t know the judgment?” Komichi asked rhetorically.
“The judgment was passed last year and it was publicised. The High Court judgment was very clear,” he said while referring to the High Court judgment held last year, ignoring the question on the latest Supreme Court judgment.
After the ruling, Komichi said the party would now go to congress using the 2014 structures.