OWNERS of Harvest House, a multi-storey building in central Harare also known as Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, previously used by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa as his party headquarters, have given the beleaguered opposition authority to continue using the property as the ownership wrangle takes centre stage.
This came after the Thokozani Khupe-led opposition took control of the property on the strength of a recent Supreme Court ruling which recognised her as the legitimate acting leader of the MDC-T following the death of party founder Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.
The directors of the building have since come out saying they were the owners, adding that Chamisa had the right of occupation and not anyone else.
“Harvest House (Pvt) Ltd owns a certain piece of land situated in the district of Salisbury called Stand 854 Salisbury Lands measuring 892 square metres, together with all buildings and improvements there on known as Harvest House, 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Harare (the property).
“None of the MDC formations, by whatever name or description own the property,” wrote one of the directors Ian Muteto Makone, in a letter dated June 5, 2020.
The MDC Alliance, since formation, Makone said, had enjoyed uninterrupted occupation of the disputed property with the permission and blessing of the company.
He added, “The MDC Alliance does not own the property, it is in occupation with the permission and blessing of the company. “The company expects that its property rights will be respected. It reserves its rights in this regard.”
Another co-director of the building, Timothy James Neil also supported the claim saying, “I confirm that, as the rightful authority of Harvest House also known as Morgan Tsvangirai House the rightful occupants are the MDC Alliance.”
On June 5, 2020, MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the takeover in a memo, adding that all party business would from then be run from Harvest House.
The MDC-T had also recalled four of Chamisa’s legislators accusing them of defying Khupe, but the High Court overturned the matter and provisionally barred the former Deputy Prime Minister from purging her rival’s elected officials.
MDC Alliance councillors have also written to Local Government minister July Moyo pleading with him to stop recalling them on the strength of directives from Khupe’s faction.
“Our clients advise us that Douglas Togaraseyi Mwonzora, Thokozani Khupe and an entity called the MDC-T have threatened to recall certain councillors elected under the banner of the MDC Alliance pursuant to the elections held on July 30, 2018,” party lawyers Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni, said in letter dated June 1, 2020.
“Our clients advise us that Douglas Mwonzora, Thokozani Khupe and the MDC-T have no power and authority to recall the said councillors.”