Legitimacy on trial as MDC-T feud goes to Court

Legitimacy on trial as MDC-T feud goes to Court
Published: 15 April 2018 (250 Views)
The MDC-T feud has escalated with the Mr Chamisa led faction asking the speaker to recall Dr Khupe from parliament as she is part of the trio 'fired' that include Obert Gutu and Abednico Bhebhe. A few days ago we had the ZEC chairperson writing to the Chamisa faction advising them of the notice put forward by the Khupe faction with the intention to use the MDC-T name in the elections. Khupe has hired constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku to defend her. The stage is now set for a brutal legal battle.

The matter of who is the legitimate leader of the MDC-T will soon come under the spotlight. The courts will be asked to interpret the MDC-T constitution and pronounce who the legitimate leader is in terms of the MDC-T constitution following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai. The controversial rise of Mr Nelson Chamisa will soon be interrogated. In the event of the court's ruling against him, this may mean surrendering everything associated with the MDC-T registered name which may include but not limited to the palm symbol, the colour Red, the vehicles and maybe harvest house. This case will be of public international interest and hence the courts have to demonstrate absolute impartiality. Interesting times ahead.

Mr Chamisa has so far scored some legal victories against Dr Khupe - winning the Bulawayo offices in fact it is an interim relief, and there some unconfirmed reports that his faction has also been given the funds under the Political Finance Act.  It is expected that the Chamisa faction which approached the courts in Bulawayo will also respect Dr Khupe's right to seek the court's intervention in the matter of legitimacy. The MDC-T is a legal person that can sue and be sued and it is in their constitution.

By refusing to Congress Mr Chamisa took a very high risk strategy ahead of elections and he was helped to interpret the constitution generously by his supporters who seemed to have vested interests. Democracy is on trial in the MDC-T and the rule of law has been the MDC-T's mantra so it cannot escape the courts.

There are very interesting scenarios that we must brace as the drama unfolds. Firstly, should the Courts decide as many argued that the congress elected Dr Khupe as the Deputy President while Mr Chamisa was a mere appointee reporting to the now President of the party and decide that in terms of the party constitution Dr Khupe is the acting President then Mr Chamisa has to form another party. The problem becomes complicated when it comes to the current MPs as they would have to either work with Dr Khupe or be recalled at a time the electoral laws are being debated in preparation of the 2018 harmonised elections.

Even more interesting, the decision would have found Mr Chamisa as someone who cannot even uphold his own party constitution and it will cast aspersions on his suitability to be elected as the President of the country because how will he be entrusted to defend the constitution of the republic

The other big challenge for Mr Chamisa should he loose will be the issue of all the bank accounts and the party resources and symbols. This will mean that Mr Chamisa will have to start afresh and the implications will be serious on the MDC Alliance because it means they will be forced to ditch the MDC-T.

The situation will be difficult for the MDC funders as they need to be sure that they are funding a democratic project so against the court case has the potential to chase away funders. The resources that should be used to oil Mr Chamisa's campaign are now being used to fight a court case, and the money that should have been used to fund the congress are now being used to fund a court case.

Meanwhile Dr Khupe is planning on holding her Congress this weekend which means that if the congress elects her the party president then she will approach court challenging Mr Chamisa as unelected leader. Mr Chamisa made the fatal mistake of being anointed and not being elected.

Dr Khupe can however still loose the case and sink into oblivion, but that is what her fight is about. If at least she cannot win the party presidency she needs to win the argument that Mr Chamisa illegitimate and is the one who should be recalled together with his supporters and facilitators of the illegality.

Douglas Mwonzora and Mr Mudzuri are not happy with the situation and the way Mr Chamisa rose to power, although they quickly adapted to save their political careers but all that can now create a problem as they will be called as witnesses or even defendants. Dr Khupe has nothing to lose after all she has been abused terribly while fellow party members stood aside and looked. Douglas Mwonzora and Mr Mudzuri may soon be compelled to take positions consistent with the impending reality.

The writer Lloyd Msipa is a United Kingdom based lawyer. This article was originally published on his blog www.lloydmsipa.com

- Lloyd Msipa

Tags: MDC-T, Chamisa, Khupe,

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