By Moses Matenga/Blessed Mhlanga/Desmond Chingarande
The MDC-T has filed papers opposing an application filed by MDC Alliance legislators challenging their recall.
The Thokozani Khupe-led party, in papers filed by Douglas Mwonzora as secretary-general, argued that the MDC Alliance was never a political party, but a faction of the party left by the late Morgan Tsvangirai.
It follows, therefore, that the 2019 MDC Alliance Gweru congress that ushered in new leadership was a legal nullity.
The MDC Alliance last week filed a High Court application opposing the recall by Mwonzora of its secretary-general Chalton Hwende and three other legislators, Lillian Timveous, Prosper Mutseyami and Tabitha Khumalo.
Through his lawyers Chatsanga and Partners, Mwonzora said he was the bona fide secretary-general of the MDC-T and Hwende should not act as such.
He said the MDC Alliance was only a faction of the MDC-T, which split into two following the death of Tsvangirai in February 2018.
Mwonzora is the first respondent, while Khupe, the MDC-T, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda were mentioned as the second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
The MDC Alliance, its national
deputy organising secretary Happymore Chidziva and Wellington Mariga were mentioned as applicants in the matter.
Mwonzora said it was unfair to have the matter sat for before the expiry of the respondents to file opposing papers.
“This application gives all the respondents, including myself, 10 days within which to file opposing papers. Yet the applicants have proceeded to have this matter set down before the expiry of that period. This, I believe, is not only improper, but very unfair as well,” he argued.
He said the certificate of urgency was based on an application for review that does not exist.
“I believe a certificate of urgency based on a falsehood is fatally defective.”
Mwonzora said Hwende had not proven how he was, indeed, in such a position.
“It is denied that the said Chalton Hwende is the secretary-general of the applicant. He has not told this court how he came into being as the secretary-general of the applicant. He has not shown that he has any authority whatsoever to act for and on behalf of the applicant as he has not attached any proof of authority to represent the applicant at all.
“I will demonstrate that at the material times, the said Chalton Hwende did not seek the office of the first applicant. To the contrary, he sought and temporarily got office from me as secretary. However, the situation has now changed.”
“It is denied that the MDC Alliance ever held a congress anywhere in Zimbabwe. It was the faction of the MDC-T led by Nelson Chamisa that held a congress in Gweru,” Mwonzora said and attached the notice of the said congress that brought together most of the MDC Alliance leadership under one party.
Mwonzora contested for the post of secretary-general and lost to Hwende during the 2019 congress, but in his opposing papers, he denied participating in any MDC Alliance congress.
“By virtue of the judgment of Justice (Edith) Mushore as well as the judgment by the Supreme Court, the actions by Nelson Chamisa in his capacity as president of the MDC-T were nullified. I never contested in the MDC Alliance congress led by Nelson Chamisa. Fortunately, the judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court,” he said.
Mwonzora said the Bulawayo congress by the MDC-T, another faction of the opposition movement, was also a legal nullity following the Supreme Court ruling.
Chamisa and Khupe are fighting for the control of Zimbabwe’s mainstream opposition party.
Mwonzora said the legislators were fired for insisting that they belonged to the MDC Alliance.
In his papers filed last week, Hwende said since their election in 2018, they had been treated in Parliament as members of the MDC Alliance and they were surprised why they were now being referred to as MDC-T members.
“Our party, the MDC Alliance fielded candidates in constituencies for election as Members of Parliament in terms of section 46 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13],” he said.
“In our case, our forms were filed and signed for as is required by the law. At all material times, we were MDC Alliance. In all our communication with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, we were MDC Alliance. We registered election agents through the MDC Alliance. They were accredited for as MDC Alliance. At no stage were we ever anything other than the MDC Alliance.”
The legislators said Mudenda and Senate president Mabel Chinomona acted illegally by apportioning themselves powers of the courts.
Meanwhile, the High Court yesterday postponed the hearing of a matter filed by Timveous challenging her dismissal from Parliament.
The matter was moved to tomorrow after the MDC Alliance and MDC-T consented to the postponement.
Timveous cited Senate president, Parliament of Zimbabwe, Mwonzora, Khupe and the MDC-T as respondents.
Mwonzora’s arguments will be heard tomorrow. News Day