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Hopewell Chin’ono: Political support can’t be legalized or gotten on the basis of a court order

By Hopewell Chin’ono

Notwithstanding issues related to property, if I were Nelson Chamisa I would simply form another political party. The MDCA or dump that name altogether. People are following him and the causes and ideas that he represent and not a name of a political party!

Hopewell Chin'ono
Hopewell Chin’ono

It would be truly ridiculous that the same judiciary that said a coup was legal and constitutional would today attempt to legalize political support!

Political support can’t be legalized or gotten on the basis of a court order.

Political parties by their nature are voluntary organizations, you can’t force people to be led by someone they don’t like.

Harvest House doesn’t belong to the MDC, so Chamisa should simply ignore the court order by not participating in a charade congress ordered by the court.

Thokozani Khupe can hold on to the MDCT name and Chamisa can take his supporters to a new political party with a new name that clearly distinguishes it from the now toxic MDCT name.

Hapana kana nyaya apa! An idea whose time has arrived can’t be stopped by court orders, it is the people who determine their leaders.

At a practical level Chamisa should just appeal the high court judgement and that would automatically suspend it until the appeal case is heard.

He can go ahead and hold his congress as planned this month whilst waiting for the appeal case to be heard.

This in my view is a political judgment, if G40 or Robert Mugabe had gone to court on the same basis would the judge have ruled in the same way?

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The idea and court ruling instruction which directs that a new congress to chose a new leader should be held using 2014 structures is as ludicrous as it is weird!

How do you use structures that don’t exist anymore? Do you ask those who were in those structures but have joined other parties to return back for this congress?!


The case against Nelson Chamisa’s party leadership was brought to court in September last year by Elias Mashavira, a party organizer in Gokwe.

Mashavira sought a declaration that Chamisa was not the party’s legitimate leader as he had not been endorsed by an extra-ordinary congress.

On March 14 of 2019, the court reserved judgment on the matter.

This was a week after Chamisa had issued a notice convening the party congress between May 24 and 26.

Justice Esther Muremba of the Harare High Court ruled over the case.

In 2017, the same High Court referred to the same MDC constitution when they ruled that Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri had been legitimately appointed by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker.

He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow, CNN African Journalist of the year and CNN Television Journalism Fellow. He is also a Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Africa Leadership Institute.

Hopewell has a new documentary film looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind, which was launched to critical acclaim.

The late superstar Oliver Mtukudzi wrote the soundtrack for State of Mind.

It was recently nominated for a big award at the Festival International du Film Pan-Africain de Cannes in France, in the UK at the Heart of England International Film Festival and in Texas at The US African Film Festival (TAFF).

You can watch the State of Mind trailer below. You can contact Hopewell at [email protected] or twitter @daddyhope