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Chamisa wins as High Court dismisses bid to stop congress

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2019 at 07:21hrs | Views
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa  heaved a sigh of relief yesterday after the High Court dismissed an urgent chamber application by a Gokwe-based man who had sought to stop the party congress slated for May 24 to 26.

Elias Mashavire had argued that in terms of the MDC's constitution, an extraordinary congress should have been held to replace the late founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai. He therefore challenged the legitimacy of interim party leader, Nelson Chamisa. The matter was heard in chambers before High Court Judge Esther Muremba.

Alec Muchadehama, Jeremiah Bamu, Innocent Gonese and Thabitha Khumalo represented the MDC. They argued strongly yesterday that there was nothing urgent about Mashavire's application before it was thrown out. "There is nothing urgent and that was noted after we argued that it was incompetent for the applicant (Mashavire) to seek a final order in an interim application," Muchadehama said.

"He was simply supposed to follow up on the ruling of the other matter he filed before (Justice) Mushure. He is awaiting a judgment of the High Court in that matter and filed an urgent chamber application again. "Seeking to stop the congress was misplaced and Mashavire had other remedies to his grievances. He could still challenge the outcome of the congress."

On September 24 last year, Mashavire approached the High Court seeking a declaration that Chamisa was not the party's legitimate leader as he had not been endorsed by an extra-ordinary congress.
Mushore reserved judgment on the matter on March 14, a week after Chamisa had issued a notice convening the party congress between May 24 and 26.

Chamisa is tipped to retain the MDC presidency, with all the provinces that have completed their nominations so far, rooting for him. While MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has expressed his desire to challenge Chamisa for the top post, he is yet to receive a single nomination for the post.

In another case pending before the High Court, five MDC members are challenging Chamisa's presidency on the same basis.
Wirimayi Chemubvumo, Tererai Muteve, Mbekezeli Ndlovu, David Samapenda and Abraham Mwadzura are the applicants, while Mwonzora, vice president Morgen Komichi, Chamisa and the MDC, are cited as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Chemubvumo said in terms of Section 64 of the MDC constitution, in the event of death or resignation of the president, "the deputy president assumes the role of acting president pending the holding of an extra-ordinary congress that shall be held not later than a year to elect a new leader".

He said in the circumstances, the extra-ordinary congress should have been held in February, exactly a year after his death.
"My freedom of association has been violated in the sense that after the death of my party president in 2018, I am as of the 15th of February 2019 being affectively forced to associate myself with the third respondent (Chamisa) who has usurped the role of president albeit unlawfully and unconstitutionally without receiving either my or other party members' endorsement at the extra-ordinary congress," Chemubvumo said.

He said as it stands the respondents are busy campaigning and conducting mini congresses at ward and district levels as well as provincial levels ahead of the national congress. "With respect this conduct cannot be allowed to go on for any day longer whilst the constitution of the party remains unfulfilled as it presently does.

The third respondent (Chamisa) is parading himself as the ‘president' of the party and purporting to discharge functions as such, even as he is unsanctioned to do so in terms of the key constitutional provision…," Chemubvumo said. He accused Mwonzora and Komichi of working in complicit in the violation of the party's constitution.

"The first and second (Mwonzora and Komichi), are likewise discharging other official functions but turning a blind eye on the ongoing constitutional violation. In so doing they are effectively violating my constitutional right to freedom of assembly and political participation in a bid to secure the third respondent's place," he said.

In the application, Chemubvumo and his colleagues attached a copy with 200 signatures of people whom he claims are in support of the holding of an extra-ordinary congress. He also attached a letter that he wrote to Mwonzora last month pushing for the conducting of an extra-ordinary congress in terms of the party's constitution.

According to court papers, Chemubvumo and his colleagues want Chamisa to revert to his position that he held before Tsvangirai's death.

Source - Daily News