In a rare legal victory for the MDC Alliance, the High Court has ruled in favour of the two of the party’s legislators, who had approached the court seeking an order barring the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T and the House of Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda from replacing them as lawmakers after they were recalled on April 3, this year.
By Charles Laitom
The two legislators, Lillian Timveos and Tabitha Khumalo, sought the intervention of the courts after reinstated MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said the Khupe-led camp had a right to recall and replace the legislators following the nullification of Nelson Chamisa’s presidency by the Supreme Court.
The matter was heard on Sunday by Justice Joseph Mafusire who then granted the interdict sought by the two Members of Parliament.
This was confirmed by the two MP’s lawyer Charles Kwaramba.
“The court has granted an interdict to stop the Douglas Mwonzora and the Thokozani Khupe-led group from replacing those recalled members that is Khumalo and Timveos,” Kwaramba said.
In their application the two legislators had cited Mwonzora, Khupe, MDC-T, Mudenda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona and chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Priscilla Chigumba, as respondents.
In his founding affidavit Mwonzora had argued that the Khupe-led camp had a right to replace the two recalled MPs because they had publicly stated that they were no longer members of the MDC-T, a party they belonged to at the time of elections.
Mwonzora further said Timveos and Khumalo had been recalled in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and therefore any filling of their positions was to be made as provided for in the Constitution as read with the Electoral Act, but Justice Mafusire ruled otherwise.
However, in their response, the two legislators maintained they participated in the 2018 harmonised elections under the MDC-Alliance banner, which had its own logo, name and symbol and had not been under the MDC-T, which was behind their recall.
The current wrangle came after the Supreme Court removed Chamisa as the MDC leader following a leadership wrangle between him and Khupe.
Chamisa and Khupe’s alliance fell apart following the death of the party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018. After Tsvangirai’s death, Chamisa immediately assumed the party’s presidency and in the process created a nasty leadership wrangle with Khupe, who then was one of the party’s vice presidents.
In April this year, the Supreme Court ordered the party to return to its 2014 structures and hold an extraordinary congress to select a new leadership prompting the Khupe-led faction to recall Timveos and Khumalo.