Chamisa loses Harvest House row


UNDERFIRE opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has lost legal battle for control of the party headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, popularly known as Harvest House, after the High Court ruled in his rival Thokozani Khupe’s favour.

By Everson Mushava/Moses Matenga

High Court judge Justice David Mangota yesterday dismissed two applications by Chamisa’s party trying to regain control of the party headquarters after it was grabbed by the Khupe-led MDC-T early this month with the help of the police and soldiers.

Buoyed by a March 30 Supreme Court ruling recognising her as the legitimate MDC-T acting president ahead of Chamisa, Khupe went on a warpath recalling MDC Alliance legislators and taking over the party headquarters in central Harare — generally regarded as the citadel of opposition politics.
Chamisa’s party then approached the court, through its lawyer Alec Muchadehama, seeking an order declaring the seizure of the building as illegal.

The MDC Alliance and party secretary-general Chalton Hwende were the applicants in the matter where they cited the MDC-T, Khupe and MDC-T interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora as respondents.

The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga had also been cited as respondents in the matter, with Chamisa claiming State security agents aided Khupe in the takeover of the building.

Justice Mangota dismissed the application with costs, arguing that Chamisa’s party failed to prove the use of police and military in the takeover.

“I have considered all the circumstances of HC2811/20 and HC 2814/20,” part of the ruling read.

“I am satisfied that the applicants in each case failed to prove their applications on a balance of probabilities. In the result, it is ordered that: HC2811/20 be and is hereby dismissed.”

Before the judgment, Chamisa went on social media platforms urging his supporters to rise against President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying the social contract between citizens and government had irretrievably broken.

“We have arrested politics, thinking and mode because we are not solving the fundamental question. Key is consensus in governance, and it is lacking,” Chamisa said.
“State has the hard power, the people have soft power but the State is behaving like a bull in a China shop, yet it should be the servant of the people. The social contract between people and the State is broken.”

Chamisa said the situation in the country had reached boiling point and it was time for mass protests against Mnangagwa’s “failed regime.” He said the people deserved a legitimate, capable State, adding change was inevitable.

Asked if he was not inciting people to protest, Chamisa said: “What incitement, the Constitution allows people to demonstrate. It is actually the government that is inciting people by neglecting their welfare. When you give insight, you are not inciting. Protests are an acceptable constitutional way of expressing displeasure.”

The country is experiencing a serious economic crisis characterised by inflation, shortage of basic goods and loss of value of the local currency as well periodic civil and political unrest.

Mnangagwa has blamed sanctions for haemorrhaging the economy, but observers say his government’s policy inconsistencies and corruption are to blame.

Chamisa added: “We are at a tipping point of explosion. On the back of poor policies, we see the total demise of the Zimbabwean dollar and full dollarisation which has seen government ditching its own currency.

“Zimbabwe is sinking courtesy of bad policies and bad leadership causing abject poverty and untold suffering. Take policy inconsistency and reversals for example, the termination of the multiple currency regime in favour of the local currency and later on return back to dollarisation in less than a year.”

“There is a liquidity crunch, coupled with food insecurity, high unemployment and high incapacitation across people, workers, government, business and absence of external support, the economy is heading for total collapse.”

Chamisa said there was need for a sound stimulus package of around US$5 billion and in the absence of that, the economy would totally collapse.

Zimbabwe is faced with a serious economic crisis that has seen workers in the health sector downing tools, demanding wages in United States dollars.

Government last week announced a 50% salary increase for civil servants plus a US$75 a month COVID-19 allowance, but the workers have rejected the offer.