By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
One embittered MDC Alliance voter identified as Charles Madhiwa has filed an application with the High Court seeking an interdict to stop the MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe from being affirmed as leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.
Madhiwa cited the Clerk of Parliament, Khupe, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and its Chairperson, Speaker of Parliament and other MPs and Senators meant to replace recalled MDC Alliance members as respondents.
Madhiwa is worried that Khupe is being sworn in as leader of the opposition MPs in Parliament regardless of the fact that she was rejected by the electorate in 2018 when she “garnered a measly 45,000 votes.”
Khupe has already recalled more 35 MDC Alliance MPs and Councillors using powers awarded to her by a controversial Supreme Court ruling in March that declared Nelson Chamisa’s leadership of the opposition left by late leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018 as illegal.
In the 2018 presidential election Chamisa was narrowly and controversially defeated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, winning 44,3% of the vote to his 50,8%. But Khupe who came a distant third with 3,42% has been established as leader of the opposition.
Observers have since blamed Mnangagwa of working with Khupe and the MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora to create a one party State led by Zanu PF.
According to the court papers seen by Nehanda Radio, Mudhiwa warned ZEC against replacing MDC Alliance seats with MDC-T members.
“That Government Notice 2553 of 2020 is declared to be inconsistent with section 157(1)9d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in that it purported to award seats in Parliament said to be vacant to the Sixth to Twentieth Respondents as nominees of the MDC-T without ensuring that those nominated by MDC-T and appointed by ZEC were members of another party MDC Alliance, whose members had won and held those seats, and accordingly that Government Notice 5253 of 2020 and all appointments announced therein are null, void and of no legal force or effect.
“That it is further declared that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and its Chairperson acted unreasonably and unlawfully by purporting to appoint persons nominated by MDC-T to Parliamentary seats which it announced itself in 2018 had been won by members of the MDC Alliance, being a different political party which had sponsored the person who held that seat,” read the court papers.
This comes after Vice President and health minister Constantino Chiwenga last week suspended planned 5 December by elections conveniently citing the Covid-19 threat.
Observers argued that his decision was meant to ensure the main opposition MDC Alliance does not recover recalled seats and maintain Khupe as a Zanu PF puppet. Mwonzora welcomed the decision to suspend by-elections but ironically announced dates for his party’s Congress.
Talking about the reinstated MDC-T leaders, UK based Law expert Alex Magaisa said, “these are the political opportunists who are shamelessly sneaking into Parliament by the back door. They are free riders via the judicially constructed MDC-T.
Award winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono also noted that the decision to install Khupe as leader of opposition in Parliament degraded the legitimacy of the National Assembly.
“The swearing in today of Thokozani Khupe as a member of parliament after losing the 2018 election has created a REAL crisis for Mnangagwa!
“That parliament is now illegitimate, it is now totally bogus and a laughing stock. If anyone wants an issue of illegitimacy, they now have it!” he said. Nehanda Radio