All this comes after the Supreme Court upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court this week — which said Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the MDC violated the opposition party’s constitution and was, therefore, null and void. The ruling paves the way for former number two to Tsvangirai, Dr Thokozani Khupe, to act as the MDC’s interim leader – while preparing for an extraordinary congress that will choose a new party leader.
In the judgment handed down by Supreme Court judges Paddington Garwe, Bharat Patel and Antoinette Guvava, Chamisa’s elevation to the MDC’s presidency was thus declared unconstitutional.
Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling could have far-reaching implications on the party and its performance in the 2023 elections.
“The judgment has introduced new dynamics, putting the entire opposition into uncertainty. As a result, the opposition will be very weak in 2023, just as was the case in 2005 and 2013.
“I’m not sure what the legal implications are with regards to the party’s name, but whatever the case may be immense turbulence is inevitable in the MDC.
“There is going to be gnashing of teeth and this problem is not going to be wished away,” Masunungure told the Daily News.
“It was clear for some time that there was terrible factionalism in the MDC, and now the Supreme Court has exposed all this,” he added.
Masunugure also warned that Khupe was likely to hold sway over both the party’s legislators and councillors, who were elected in the 2018 national polls under the MDC Alliance banner.
“Morgan Komichi absolved all those councillors who were suspended. He is already moving to take charge of the party.
“If MPs and councillors … misbehave, they can be recalled by the new MDC leadership. The bottom line is that the legal position appears to favour the Khupe group and anyone who defies them could be recalled.
“The MPs and councillors are in an invidious position … they are all probably searching high and low for the best way forward,” Masunungure said.
He also said it would be wrong to simply blame Zanu-PF for all of the MDC’s problems “because they are largely self-inflicted”.
“The problem started in February 2018 with the decision to appoint Chamisa as the president. Some of us pointed this to Chamisa, but we were ridiculed because of the wave of populism around him.
“Everything has consequences and these are the consequences of a rushed decision … this is largely self-inflected.
“Of course, Zanu-PF is capable of making Machiavellian moves, but the MDC has itself to blame,” Masunungure further told the Daily News.
“Of course Zanu-PF would not be celebrating like they are doing if this decision strengthened the MDC. They are happy because their greatest threat has been seriously affected,” he added.