By Nqobile Tshili
MDC-T lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku has thrown weight behind Mr Douglas Mwonzora saying he is the duly elected party president and only a court of law can nullify his election.
Mr Mwonzora won the MDC-T’s disputed presidential elections beating Dr Thokozani Khupe, Mr Morgen Komichi and Engineer Elias Mudzuri on Sunday.
The elections were held during the party”s extra-ordinary congress. The poll was held to replace the late MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai who died in 2018.
The party”s congress was marred by violence and rigging allegations levelled against Mr Mwonzora.
The alleged election irregularities saw Dr Khuphe, who was the party’s acting president, declaring the election null and void while suspending Mr Mwonzora as MDC-T Secretary General.
In a letter to the MDC-T Standing Committee dated December 29, Prof Madhuku said Mr Mwonzora remains MDC-T president and Dr Khupe relinquished her acting presidential powers when she participated in the extra-ordinary congress.
He said he was duty bound to provide legal counsel to the MDC-T as its head of legal team to ensure that the party is guided by the law in addressing candidates’ differences.
“As soon as the voting process began under the direction of the independent electoral body, the acting president became a candidate in the elections.
“Thereafter, she could neither cancel the extraordinary Congress nor suspend the Secretary General who was also a candidate in the same election. It is now settled in law that an office holder who is conflicted cannot exercise any of the powers that attach to the particular office as exercising such power would involve a conflict of interest,” said Prof Madhuku.
He said only the independent electoral body and a court of law could call off the election. Prof Madhuku said results that were announced by the independent electoral body where Mr Mwonzora garnered 883 votes, Khupe 118, Mudzuri 14 and Komichi nine votes remain valid.
“The presumption of validity means that unless set aside by a competent court, Douglas Mwonzora is duly elected as president. Any candidate in the election or any member of the MDC-T is entitled to approach a competent court to challenge either the validity of the extraordinary congress or the conduct of the election of the president. The Supreme Court is now out of it because of the presumption of validity I have referred to above. However, until there is an order of court to the contrary, Douglas Mwonzora is the president,” said Prof Madhuku.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwonzora yesterday held his first media briefing as the MDC-T leader, where he revealed that Dr Khupe will revert to vice president position. He said he will be proposing to the MDC-T national council in January that Eng Mudzuri be appointed a deputy president.
He said Mr Komichi would revert to his national chairman post while Ms Pauline Mpariwa will be the Secretary General. Mr Mwonzora said his party would be approaching the Government with proposals on how to improve the country’s economy. The Chronicle