HARARE — The Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T party has welcomed a High Court ruling that MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri were improperly appointed to the posts of vice president by the late Morgan Tsvangirai.
In statement, Khupe’s party said: “This victory not only vindicates Dr. Khupe and those in the MDC that have always stood for principle over political expediency but it’s a victory for all democratic forces and the rule of law in our country.
“This judgement is also a damning indictment to the many so-called legal scholars in the broader democratic movement who for the past years like the disgraced biblical Pontius Pilate looked the other way when the movement was veering off our founding values with such alarming impunity.”
The party said High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore, who made the ruling Wednesday, “reminded us again what it is to be Zimbabwean by choosing courage and integrity over bigotry, misogyny, cowardice and mobocracy.
“It is therefore not surprising that those who seek power through violence and fraud are not able to successfully impeach her ‘Ratio decidendi’ and are descending to their lowest weapon of choice which is personal insults and attacks on our judiciary.”
The party noted that it will soon contact MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and other elected leaders to implement the High Court ruling.
“Dr. Khupe has noted and welcomes the intention by some to appeal the judgment as this will give the superior courts an opportunity to confirm the universal rights of all Zimbabweans to fair and just administrative justice within any social organisation of their choice. Dr. Khupe demands all members of our movement to unite and be magnanimous at this time irrespective of their chosen side in this debacle.”
The party said Chamisa and his close associates should not “be verbally abused or belittled in any way, shape or form. He remains an indispensable leader of our movement and to that end he deserves the uttermost respect from all disciplined cadres of our movement.”
But the MDC led by Chamisa said they fundamentally disagree with the High Court judgement.
“The choice of leaders of any political party, the world over is the sole preserve of the members of that party. It can never be a judicial process. Equally, the actions, activities and programmes of a political party, being a voluntary organisation whose existence is protected by the Constitution, is the sole preserve of the members that party,” said spokesman Jacob Mafume.
“In the past few months, over 500,000 members of the MDC have been involved in a process of electing their leaders at lower levels, from branch to the province. More particularly, over 10,200 branches, 1,958 wards, 210 districts and 13 provinces have been elected. In just a few weeks’ time, the MDC will complete the process of democratically electing its leadership at a Congress convened in terms of its Constitution.”
The party said strangely, Justice Mushore’s judgement “contradicts and totally ignores an earlier judgement of the High Court which ruled on the case of Murimoga versus the MDC.”
Mafume added: “We are fully aware of the machinations and strategies being deployed by the Mnangagwa administration to destabilize and destroy the people’s project. We reiterate that Emmerson Mnangagwa is illegitimate and no amount of diversionary tactics will change this fact.”
The party further noted that preparations for its congress are at an advanced stage and 6,800 delegates are ready for the event to be held on May 24 in Gweru.
“That process is irreversible. We shall hold a historic and joyous Congress under the theme: Defining a new course for Zimbabwe.”
Chamisa’s deputy, law professor Welshman Ncube, said the High Court judgment was a case of legalism running amok.
“The leadership of the MDC can only be decided upon by the members of the MDC. When legalism runs amok, someone somewhere hallucinates that their chosen person can come back to the MDC, preside over the National Council and convene an extraordinary congress of the MDC,” Ncube said on Twitter.
He added: “During Morgan Tsvangirai’s lifetime, the High Court ruled that his appointment of two additional vice presidents was lawful and today the same High Court decides, contrary to law, to revisit its own decision and make a contrary ruling.”
Harare East MP Tendai Biti, also a lawyer, said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the leader of the Democratic Movement is Advocate Nelson Chamisa. This is a de facto and de jure fact. Two point six million Zimbabweans agreed with that position on July 30, 2018. A court of law can never be an electoral college. We are MDC, we are clear.”
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, a lawyer who was part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legal team after his election victory was disputed in August last year, said Justice Mushore’s judgment was “politically pointless”.
“The judgement is legally sound, but politically pointless: Chamisa is President of the MDC Alliance which didn’t exist in 2014, so there is nothing that will be affected,” he said on Twitter. – VOA Studio 7