THE wrangle over leadership of the opposition MDC-T degenerated into a mud-slinging match at the weekend, with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s supporters dismissing their rivals’ just-ended extraordinary congress, as “a farce” and a brazen breach of the party constitution, which they purported to represent.
Charlton Hwende, deputy treasurer-general in Chamisa’s camp yesterday said the former MDC-T deputy president, Thokozani Khupe’s congress gave them advantage ahead of their High Court challenge on the use of the party name and logo.
“The purported MDC-T congress held today (Saturday) by the expelled former MDC vice-president Thokozani Khupe has demonstrated that whilst Khupe talks about constitutionalism daily, she was today willing to violate every clause in the MDC-T constitution in a futile attempt to install herself as a party president. The so-called congress was not properly convened, as provided for, and the national council did not meet to either authorise the congress or approve the congress agenda,” he said.
Both Khupe and Chamisa are fighting to contest the forthcoming general elections as MDC-T presidential candidates.
According to the MDC-T constitution, the national council is supposed to sit ahead of congress to authorise it and also approve the agenda. It is not unilaterally called for by the president.
Khupe is also accused of creating her own party structures after structures of the MDC-T did not attend the congress in accordance with the constitution of the party.
The MDC-T constitution in particular article 6.2 spells out who should attend the party congress to ensure that it is properly constituted.
“The congress shall be the supreme organ of the party and shall be composed as follows: (a)all members of the national council, (b) All members of the national executive of women; (c) all members of the national executive of youth and 30 members of the students’ council. (d) all members of the provincial executive committee, (e) the chairperson, secretary, organising secretary and treasurer from each district executive committee, (f) the chairperson, secretary, treasurer and organising secretary at provincial and district levels of the national assemblies of women and youth. (g) the chairperson of each ward executive committee, (h) all the party’s elected members of the House of Assembly, mayors and chairpersons of each ward executive committee,” part of the constitution reads.
Out of the 72 MDC-T legislators in Parliament, only four attended and were accompanied by six out of 378 national council members. The party’s 67-member national executive only had three representatives, while the national youth executive was only represented by two out of a possible 67 members. The women’s wing executive also had three out of 67 members.
But Khupe’s newly-elected vice-president, Obert Gutu, dismissed the accusations by their rivals, saying their colleagues were ignorant of the law.
“They don’t know constitutionalism, if they want lessons on the MDC constitution, I can give them for free. If they want to challenge this congress; it’s legitimacy and everything, they can go to the courts and we will clobber them there,” he said.
There was chaos at the congress when, Linda Masarira, who had declared herself an independent candidate for Harare Central was elected into the Khupe’s standing committee.