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Court reserves judgment on Harvest House fight

by Staff reporter
13 Jun 2020 at 09:11hrs | Views
The High Court has reserved judgment in an urgent chamber application filed by MDC-Alliance to regain Harvest House following their recent eviction by MDC-T led by Dr Thokozani Khupe. The matter was heard before Justice David Mangota.

MDC-A was seeking a spoliation order, that is an order declaring the takeover of the building by the MDC-T illegal and restoring possession to the MDC-A.

The applicants are MDC-A and Chalton Hwende and they are suing MDC-T, Dr Khupe, Douglas Mwonzora, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans and the Commissioner General of Police.

The MDC-A lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama argued that the eviction was not lawful and peaceful based on the events of June 4 when the MDC-T took over the building.

He said the notice by recently reinstated secretary general, Mr Douglas Mwonzora of the handover-takeover to their members was the factual foundation that proves the MDC-T was not in occupation of Harvest House before the eviction.

Mr Muchadehama added that the presence of the police and the army on the day in question to assist Dr Khupe to take total ownership of the building and was an indication that the act was not peaceful as alleged. MDC-T and its leaders, represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, argued that the MDC-A's application should not be entertained as it lacked merit. He further argued that the MDC-A should not even be heard because the group had dirty hands by its contemptuous attitude towards the courts.

In his major argument, Prof Madhuku contended since the inception of the MDC as a political party it had been in charge of the Harvest House despite factional disputes. The MDC-T led by Dr Khupe was the legally recognised MDC party and so had the right to the building.

"The MDC-A has failed to even produce an lease agreement to support their case."

"The handover-takeover was of the security personnel which belong to MDC as an entity. Changes were caused by issues of allegiance within the MDC factions," said Madhuku.

He said there was not enough evidence on paper to prove MDC-A was in possession of the building so a final order could not be granted on the basis of speculations.

The police and the army, through their lawyer, distanced themselves from the MDC infighting, saying that their presence at Harvest house was only to ensure that Covid-19 regulations on social distancing were observed.

The army said it was never deployed there to help seize the building and that its duty was not to favour any political party and therefore could not be roped into the MDC fights.

Source - the herald

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