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The legality of the MDC-T

06 Nov 2021 at 06:36hrs | Views
MUCH has been said about Nelson Chamisa still using the name MDC in rallying his supporters. Just on Monday there was a letter penned by one O Gutu. Gutu was saying Chamisa and Zimbabwe Electoral commission  were breaking the law by using the name MDC Alliance.

Do people still recall that MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai died just before the 2018 elections. Then the party was already rallying behind Chamisa and there was no time for legal niceties like congresses and interparty elections. It was clear that Chamisa had the grassroots support to lead the party into the elections and other members of the MDC Alliance threw their full support behind him as the opposition's presidential candidate. Even Douglas Mwonzora, Morgen Komichi and Obert Gutu were also behind Chamisa.

Long after the elections, the courts ruled that the MDC-T belonged to a faction led by Thokozani Khupe. All taking legal advantage of semantics and omissions by the Chamisa party.

Mwonzora then took over the MDC-T faction in dubious circumstances which could have been challenged in the courts. Khupe had presumably got what she wanted out of the party fiasco, so did not challenge the electoral process which raised Mwonzora to the MDC-T party presidency. What is undisputable is that the MDC-T went to the 2018 elections under the leadership of Khupe and was not part of the Alliance. Her MDC-T got a paltry number of votes and not one constituency. She had no support for her annexing the name MDC-T.

Candidates from the Chamisa-led party, and Chamisa himself, got over two million votes, irrespective of what the courts ruled, showing they had the support of a major proportion of the electorate. If the diaspora were not denied their constitutional rights to vote, Chamisa and party would have undoubtedly won the election by a huge margin.

The other MDC-T cadres, like Mwonzora and Komichi who have hijacked the party, also got no support. So to remain politically relevant, they hopped over to the Khupe faction and challenged Chamisa's party through the legal system.

We all know how the legal system can rule humanly unjustly due to semantics both by the lawyers and judges, political interference, impartial judges, etc. That is why many countries have ombudsmen who can balance justice with humanity and are not dictated to solely by legal niceties.

There are two aspects to legality, de jure and de facto. Looking on the ground, Khupe and others might have convinced the courts through legal niceties (de jure), but Chamisa has the de facto high ground with huge support of the population and definitely the party membership. In a democracy it is inconceivable that the de jure position should have sway over the de facto position.

All the recalls that Mwonzora has had to do to enforce his position showed that he does not have any de facto legal standing. If fact he has created a situation whereby a sizeable proportion of the population is now not represented in Parliament and councils.

Councils are now setting budgets with half their citizens not being represented or having a say in how their money should be spent. This is an obnoxious situation and all because of legal niceties that the MDC-T faction has created.

The recalls beg the question: Should Mwonzora not have waited until the COVID-19 situation was contained and push for by-elections so he could test his support? Instead he is calling for elections to be postponed. He is backed by Zanu-PF in this as they use the COVID-19 pandemic to delay elections when all other countries are safely holding theirs.

Does this just show an inability of our government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to safeguard the electorate during elections, or an unwillingness on behalf of both Zanu-PF and MDC-T to test their support? Was it in the country's best interests to withdraw any form of meaningful opposition indefinitely from Parliament?

Is it responsible to leave the ruling party, given its track record to have such a huge majority in the House, which it has used to change the Constitution many times?

For the Mwonzora party to have to recall so many MPs and councillors shows that they do not have the support of the principled MDC politicians.

They tried to intimidate them to gain support but it has only showed the lack of support they have. We can safely assume that the MPs remaining with the approval of Mwonzora are those only in it for the money.

Komichi is now doing the rounds in the provinces threatening councillors that they will be denied the opportunity to serve their ward members if they do not surrender their allegiance to Mwonzora's party, which they have utmost disdain for.

He and his ilk are regarded by all Chamisa followers as sellouts. Their support for Zanu-PF, silence on the ongoing Zanu-PF violence against Chamisa, and use of threats to try to cajole support reinforces this view.

They have not uttered one word about being the next ruling party which again leads the population to believe they are not in it for the people but just the money and desire to be on the Zanu-PF gravy train.

This ongoing wrangling over the name of the main opposition party is getting really tiresome and annoying. It is leading to confusion in the electorate which Mwonzora and company seem hell bend on doing to the advantage of Zanu-PF.

If Mwonzora and others believed that they were the legitimate MDC they would not have to keep harping on Chamisa and his supporters using any name they choose so long as it does not cause confusion in the electorate.

Chamisa is the undisputed de facto leader of the vast majority who steadfastly followed Tsvangirai and his principles of democracy since 1999. Mwonzora and his grouping are traitors to the cause of the MDC originally led by Tsvangirai.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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