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Zimbabwe decides: implications of MDC-T Court dispute

28 May 2018 at 23:19hrs | Views
The ruling by the Supreme Court that the MDC-T legal dispute between Dr Thokozani Khupe and Advocate Nelson Chamisa be resolved by way of the trial means that for the first time the MDC-T supporters and the public will get to understand during cross-examination the material facts. Legitimacy will now be decided through the correct and current MDC-T constitution not the political rhetoric, claims, popularity or minutes of the MDC-T National Council.

This issue of which MDC-T constitution was used by the National Council to anoint Chamisa as a replacement of the late Morgan Tsvangirai as President of the MDC-T remains the most curious points of interest which will potentially test the integrity of Nelson Chamisa as a politician and fitness to govern. MDC-T supporters and sympathisers took exception to Chamisa being portrayed as being conservative with the truth during the Hard-Talk interview, and now it seems that he will be having a harder task if called as a witness and lawyer as to his interpretation of the constitutional clause that he used to get into power.

The authentic MDC-T constitution, fortunately, will have the late Morgan Tsvangirai's signature so it cannot be forged as he died before the dispute. Douglas Mwonzora as Secretary General of the MDC-T would have a copy and as a lawyer, he will not lie under oath as to the authentic document. Dr Khupe would be having a copy as well because she had issues with the appointment of Mudzuri and Chamisa as Vice Presidents in terms of the constitution by the late Tsvangirai.

As to what Mwonzora will say if called as a witness is already in the public domain. On 19th February 2018, Mwonzora told the Newsday that, "The issue of who fills the vacancy in the presidency cannot be determined by the national executive or national council, but this can only be done by an extraordinary congress. This has to be before the election and before the 15th of March... In order for the chosen person to have legitimacy, we have to follow the law to the letter…We have no choice but to show our supporters, the country and the world that we respect the law and live our word…"

The trial will expose governance challenges within the MDC-T faction led by Nelson Chamisa. The MDC, Chamisa faction, was represented by Mr Morgan Komichi in seeking an Interim Interdict / Injunction to stop Dr Khupe's faction from unauthorised use or exploitation of the registered trademarks of the MDC-T. This role was supposed to be performed by Mwonzora as the Secretary-General - and he was out of the country in Switzerland at the time. Administrative issues fall under the purview of the Secretary-General. Was Mwonzora consulted, if not is this usurpation of the SG's role by the Chairman? Did Morgan Komichi have the loci standi to make the application and why did Chamisa not do so? The trial will be a "Harder-Talk" if Chamisa is called in by Professor Madhuku for cross-examination he better be prepared.

The real game changer will be the High Court judgment. This trial cannot be dragged anymore since the Supreme Court ruled that it is an urgent matter so we expect the judgement to come soon, at least before the nomination court. Therein lies the obvious trouble for whoever is found to be improper in terms of the MDC-T constitution. An illegitimate leader will naturally not be allowed to use the MDC-T, period! That could be Nelson Chamisa or Thokozani Khupe - and that person and his or her followers will have to find a party - very close to the nomination court.

It might be the case that both Nelson Chamisa and Khupe have their plan B - otherwise, they will be the most naïve outfits to ever enter politics in modern history unless #Godisint. The real drama will be if Khupe wins the case. She will naturally immediately institute disciplinary proceedings to recall those party members including MPs who went along with the renegades. Bearing in mind that parliament is not yet dissolved and we still have some motions going in parliament those recalled will not be able to stand as MDC-T candidates which is why the matter is urgent.

Some people are wondering, is Tsvangirai's ghost haunting those who disrespect him in death or those who disagreed with him openly when he was alive? The drama at Tsvangirai's death was a bad omen in the African tradition. Let the courts decide for now and interpretation will come later.

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Source - Lloyd Msipa
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