By Tendai Kamhungira
The feud between MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and MDC T president Thokozani Khupe resumed yesterday, after the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) heard the matter in which the ex-Bulawayo Metropolitan Province MP is challenging her expulsion from Parliament.
Khupe, who participated in the July 30 presidential elections as a candidate for the MDC-T party, was expelled from Parliament in April this year, following a fall-out with Chamisa.
Chamisa wrote a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda recalling Khupe after stating that she was no longer a member of the largest opposition political party in the country.
Khupe challenged the expulsion, arguing that it was not done in a procedural manner.
In the application, Khupe and MDC are the applicants, while the respondents are the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Mudenda and MDC deputy president Morgen Komichi.
However, Chief Justice Luke Malaba yesterday expressed reservations over the idea of continuing to hear the case, considering that the seventh Parliament, which Khupe was part of, had since been dissolved.
“Has this matter not been overtaken by events, considering the nature of the relief sought? We can’t be sitting to hear moot issues, we want concrete issues,” Malaba said, adding that it was the remedy that was being sought that was critical, as other issues were subsidiary.
However, Khupe’s lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said that there was need for the court to hear his client’s arguments as the court’s ruling had practical effects. He said the court was supposed to decide on the case’s mootness.
“She (Khupe) lost financial benefits that go with the office of Parliament and did not finish her term and that has a bearing on issues to do with her pension. And if her expulsion is to be declared unconstitutional, the first applicant (Khupe) is entitled to sue for damages,” Madhuku said.
He further said that the court had a discretion to hear a moot case, adding that his client’s case was still live and needed determination. He also said that his client was entitled to benefits of a sitting MP until the dissolution of the Parliament.
However, Thabani Mpofu, who appeared on behalf of the Parliament and Mudenda, said because the case had been overtaken by events, there was no longer any dispute for the court to resolve.
He said if Khupe believes she suffered financial losses, she is entitled to approach the High Court for recourse, rather than pursuing the Constitutional Court case.
The Con-Court reserved ruling in the matter.
The battle between Khupe and Chamisa emerged, following the death of the MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died on February 14, this year.
In her arguments, Khupe told the court that, having been elected MDC vice president at the party’s congress in 2006 and 2014, she is the rightful leader of the party, while Chamisa — on the other hand — says he is the rightful heir.
Commenting on the letter of expulsion to Parliament, Khupe said, “No reasonable Parliament could regard it as the written notice contemplated in Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution.
“I believe that in acting on the document sent by the 3rd respondent (Komichi), the 1st respondent (Parliament) failed to fulfil its constitutional obligations within the contemplation of Section 167 (2) (d)”. DailyNews