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Bhasikiti case exposes double standards of Supreme Court ruling on MDC-T – Magaisa

By Staff Reporter

The Supreme Court ruling on the leadership dispute of the opposition MDC-T has exposed the double standards of the courts in Zimbabwe in matters pertaining to Zanu PF and the MDC.

UK based academic and lecturer of law Dr Alex Magaisa
UK based academic and lecturer of law Dr Alex Magaisa

On Tuesday the Supreme Court declared that Nelson Chamisa’s leadership of the main opposition MDC was illegitimate and ordered it to hold an election to replace him within three months.

In the latest instalment of the popular Big Saturday Read, UK based academic and lecturer of law Dr Alex Magaisa offered his Critical Analysis of the Supreme Court Judgment.

Magaisa said in the MDC case the court was prepared to accept that the litigant Elias Mashavira “was perfectly entitled to ignore the internal remedies in the MDC-T because there was no prospect of getting justice” and yet in a similar case involving Zanu PF had ruled differently.

“Consider the case of former ZANU PF politician, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti. In 2015, he was expelled from ZANU PF following the expulsion of Joice Mujuru. Bhasikiti challenged his expulsion at the High Court where the matter came before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu (as he then was).

“ZANU PF advanced a preliminary objection, arguing that Bhasikiti had not exhausted all the internal remedies within the party.

“The ZANU PF constitution allowed Bhasikiti to appeal the decision of the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) to the Politburo and the Central Committee,” Magaisa wrote.

“There is no material difference between the two scenarios. Both Bhasikiti and Mashavira were challenging decisions made by their parties. They were required to exhaust internal remedies, but both feared that they would not get a fair hearing within their parties.

Both decided to approach the High Court for redress. Yet, Bhasikiti, who was fighting ZANU PF was told by both the High Court and Supreme Court that he should have exhausted internal remedies, even though they were compromised,” Magaisa explained.

“One doesn’t need supreme intelligence to observe that the judicial process is selective depending on which organisation is before it.

“It is these differences in how courts treat similar matters that give rise to doubts in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,” Magaisa added.

To read the full article from Dr Alex Magaisa: Critical Analysis of the Supreme Court Judgment

On Saturday Bhasikiti tweeted; “What I know for certain,is that even if Chamisa was to walk into a ZANU PF Congress Today, he will be elected ahead of ED. What more in his own Party?”

Kudakwashe Bhasikiti
Kudakwashe Bhasikiti

MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti has already said the judgement does not affect Chamisa’s presidency of the main opposition party in the country.

“The judgement affects an entity called the MDC-T not MDC Alliance. We are the MDC Alliance and our President is Nelson Chamisa.”

‘We will read the judgement and shelve the judgement in our libraries. It doesn’t affect the MDC Alliance. The MDC alliance was never sited in the SC proceedings’.

“My position is that we as MDC we held our congress in May 2019. Nelson Chamisa is our president and our next congress is 2024. Full stop,” Biti told reporters on Tuesday.

MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa (centre) and Tendai Biti (Alliance principal) (centre) and Amos Chibaya (Organising Secretary) - right.
MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa (centre) and Tendai Biti (Alliance principal) (centre) and Amos Chibaya (Organising Secretary) – right.

Chamisa had appealed an earlier High Court ruling that confirmed Thokozani Khupe as the party’s interim president following the death of party founder Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.

Justices Paddington Garwe, Bharat Patel and Antonia Guvava dismissed Chamisa’s appeal and directed that Khupe convene an extraordinary congress within three months. The judges however conceded that their ruling was “rendered moot and academic” having been overtaken by events.

Chamisa, 42, narrowly lost the 2018 presidential vote to Emmerson Mnangagwa. He accused Mnangagwa of rigging the vote and does not recognize his presidency.

Supporters of Chamisa accuse the ruling ZANU-PF party of using the courts to emasculate the MDC and to force him to accept Mnangagwa as legitimately elected. Nehanda Radio

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