MDC Alliance secures High Court temporary reprieve on recalled MPs

HARARE – The MDC-T party was on Monday interdicted from replacing four MDC Alliance MPs and Senators who were recently recalled from Parliament.

Justice Joseph Mafusire granted an interim order which will hold until the High Court gives a final determination on an application brought by the quartet in which they seek to have their recall invalidated.

Lawyer Charles Kwaramba, speaking outside the High Court, said: “This matter was heard last week. It was a matter in which Senator Lilian Timveos and Thabitha Khumalo, a member of the National Assembly, were recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora and Thokozani Khupe group (MDC-T).

“They filed an application to stop their replacement pending the determination of an application they have filed challenging their recall.”

In the main application, still pending, Members of Parliament Charlton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami, Khumalo and Senator Timveos are arguing that the Speaker of Parliament and President of the Senate erred in removing them as lawmakers on the basis of a letter written by Mwonzora, signing off as secretary general of the MDC-T party.

Mwonzora acted on a March 30 Supreme Court judgement on the MDC-T leadership dispute which said Nelson Chamisa, the former interim MDC-T leader who stood in elections in 2018 as leader of the MDC Alliance, breached his former party’s constitution when he took the reins following the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.

The Supreme Court said Khupe, who broke away from Chamisa and kept the MDC-T name with which she contested elections in 2018, should have been interim leader upon Tsvangirai’s death.

Supreme Court judges admitted their judgement was “moot” and “academic”, but went on to direct the MDC-T to hold an extraordinary congress within three months to elect Tsvangirai’s successor.

The MDC Alliance says the judgement is unenforceable because processes have long moved on, with both Khupe and Chamisa having held their respective party congresses to elect a new leadership.

Mwonzora, defeated by Hwende in the race for secretary general in internal MDC Alliance elections in 2019, has seized on the Supreme Court ruling to re-instate himself to the position which he held before Tsvangirai’s death.

The four lawmakers maintain that they participated in elections in July 2018 as members of the MDC Alliance party led by Chamisa, whereas the MDC-T party was a rival in the same election. Chamisa narrowly lost the presidential vote with over 2.1 million ballots cast in his favour, while Khupe polled just over 45,000 votes.

The lawmakers say Mwonzora, himself a Senator for the MDC Alliance elected through proportional representation, had no authority to write the letter recalling them from Parliament.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and Senate President Mabel Chinomona “acted unlawfully, in accepting a declaration from any other party other than a declaration from the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance” about a recall, they argue. – ZimLive