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'MDC-T owns Harvest House'

by Staff reporter
16 Jun 2020 at 16:18hrs | Views
A faction of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Thokozani Khupe has denied that security forces assisted their occupation of the disputed Harvest House party HQ in Harare.

A company which says it owns the building has spoken out publicly, insisting that the lawful occupants of the property is the MDC Alliance party led by Nelson Chamisa.

The MDC Alliance says police and soldiers were involved in ejecting the party's security guards from the building, in aide of a takeover by Khupe's MDC-T party on June 5.

Khupe convened the first meeting of the party's national standing committee at Harvest House on Monday, at which several positions were filled through co-option. She said the meeting was part of preparations for a court-ordered extraordinary congress of the MDC-T party.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T's secretary general, told reporters that riot police who have been camped outside the building since June 5 were in fact parked outside a branch of the FBC bank.

"We reiterate that Harvest House belongs to the Movement for Democratic Change as a party, and we will do everything that is in our power to safeguard our property," Mwonzora said.

"We want to make it clear that the Harvest House is not a private property owned by a company, it is a property that is owned by the party and we will be able to prove that when the time comes in the courts of law."

Mwonzora denied they were being backed by security forces in their occupation of Harvest House.

"The army has been patrolling the streets of Harare since the declaration of the lockdown. Sixty meters from where we are, towards parliament, are offices of the army and the riot police seen outside the building are not parked at our HQ but outside FBC bank," Mwonzora said to laughter by journalists.

MDC Alliance treasurer general David Coltart maintains that the building "is not owned by MDC-T", the party of Khupe, and adds that "the MDC Alliance is in lawful occupation of it."

In letters seen by ZimLive, the Harvest House (Pvt) Ltd company director, Ian Muteto Makone, claimed that "none" of the MDC formations, by whatever name or description, own the property.

"The company is not in occupation of the property. The MDC Alliance, since its formation, has been in undisputed possession of the property with permission and blessing of the company," said Makone.

Khuphe, who ran in the July 2018 elections as leader of the MDC-T and won two parliamentary seats, told the news conference that she was now the leader of 103 MDC Alliance MPs and Senators following a Supreme Court ruling which said Chamisa's assumption of the MDC-T leadership when founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai died in February 2018 was unlawful. The court ordered the MDC-T to revert to pre-2016 structures – but the judgement's implications are disputed by the MDC Alliance which says it is a completely different party from the one Tsvangirai led.

"We are now up on our toes, up on our feet, we are standing and we are raring to go," Khupe said. "We want to make sure that Zimbabweans have a better life. Our desire as the opposition is to make sure that we are an opposition which is going to make sure that we build. We want to make sure that we become a government in waiting for real."

Khupe named Tsvangirai's brother Manasa as secretary for elections and co-opted into the national standing committee Elias Mudzuri as deputy national chairperson, Gift Chimanikire as deputy national organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe as national organising secretary and Shakespeare Mukoyi as interim youth assembly leader.

Chamisa narrowly lost the 2018 presidential election to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He has refused to accept the election result which he says was rigged.

Source - zimlive