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Supreme Court gave Khupe, Mwonzora and Komichi “guns but they have blank bullets” – Magaisa

By Staff Reporter

MDC-T bigwigs Thokozani Khupe, Douglas Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi will find it impossible to convene an Extraordinary Congress as ordered by the Supreme Court because “legally the organs they must work with no longer exist at law” according to Dr Alex Magaisa.

Douglas Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi
Douglas Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi

In his latest instalment of the Big Saturday Read, the UK based law lecturer was analysing the “Political dynamics of the MDC conflict” in the aftermath of a court ruling ordering the opposition MDC-T to hold an Extraordinary Congress using the structures of the party that existed in 2014.

“If Thokozani Khupe or Morgan Komichi wish to convene an Extraordinary Congress, they have to face the fact that legally the organs they must work with no longer exist at law,” Magaisa wrote.

“The Supreme Court gave them guns but they have blank bullets. The extension of the organs’ term limits cannot be implied. It has to be specifically ordered.

“They may have to approach the courts for an order. Whether the court has the power to make such orders is a question that would have to be confronted if the matter comes to court,” Magaisa added.

Read full article: Big Saturday Read: Political dynamics of the MDC conflict

According to Magaisa what makes the task even nearly impossible is that “at law, an Extraordinary Congress must be convened in cooperation with other organs of the party.

“Key organs include the National Council and the provincial structures. These organs and the Congress itself must constitute a quorum (minimum number of members) for their meetings and decisions to be valid. A two-thirds majority of members is the quorum for a Congress.”

“A majority of members are now part of the MDC Alliance which they regard to be a distinct political entity; others have moved on with their careers; while others are deceased or retired,” Magaisa wrote.

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.

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 (Supreme Court) proceedings’.

Chamisa had appealed an earlier High Court ruling that confirmed 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.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

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. 

When the judgment was made early April, former Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo said;

“It’s unreasonable and absurd in the extreme for a court to find, as the Supreme Court did in the Khupe matter, that the case is water under the bridge & moot; but rule that it will construct a new bridge in the vain hope of recovering the spilled water to give life to a moot cause!”

UK based lawyer Brighton Mutebuka noted the same dilemma; “At this rate, Komichi might have to return to Justice Patel and seek an order to compel MDCA members to attend the intended charade. It looks like the defection started and ended with Komichi and Mwonzora only.

“It’s the Abel Muzorewa parable all over, 3 helicopters v 1 Parliamentary seat! In politics, power resides in the people and democracy and constitutionalism have to take people with them. A court order without the support of the people is a worthless piece of paper.” he added. Nehanda Radio