The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has a written a letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscillah Chigumba, seeking to bar the Thokozani Khupe-led camp from using the party’s symbols at today’s Nomination Court.
The party’s chief election agent, Jameson Timba told Chigumba that in terms of the law, no candidate is allowed to have his or her nomination papers accepted if the party symbol closely resemble that of another party.
“We refer to the above matter in which our presidential candidate honourable advocate Nelson Chamisa has submitted nomination forms to contest the forthcoming presidential election in terms of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13.
“Our nomination forms had a clear symbol of the MDC Alliance which essentially consists of an open palm with the face of our presidential candidate and the insignia: chinja maitiro chinja, guqula izenzo izenzo guqula,” Timba said.
He said in terms of the law, besides the symbols, the nomination court is also obligated not to accept papers from a party using the abbreviation of another party.
“This is very clear in terms of Section 46 (10) of the Electoral Act. It is our contention that the symbol of the MDC T led by advocate Nelson Chamisa and indeed the MDC Alliance are well known and had been registered.
“We therefore ask that you protect the symbols of our party and reject any other attempt to nominate and register competing symbols by an alternative party. We seek a guarantee that you shall respect the law,” he said.
Accompanying the letter is also a copy of the receipt showing that Chamisa paid $1 000, which is the amount required for a presidential candidate to file his or her nomination papers.
Chamisa and Khupe are currently locked up in a legal battle over the use of the party’s symbols following the death of the founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year. Following the break-up, Khupe indicated to Zec that she will be fielding parliamentary and council candidates under the MDC ticket, at a time when the Chamisa-led camp announced that it had terminated her membership with the party.
Although Chamisa was elected to lead the opposition movement by the party’s national council, Khupe and her allies have pooh-poohed the whole process as they also laid claim to the throne left vacant following Tsvangirai’s death from colon cancer.
Because of the situation there are high chances of confusing the electorate, if the two continue to use the same name and symbols, as the court has not yet deliberated on the issue.
The case is before the High Court after an order was given by the Supreme Court late last month that the dispute be heard on an urgent basis, following a previous court order that had given Khupe leeway to continue using the party’s symbols.
The High Court is also expected to determine whether or not there are two MDC parties and if not, whether Khupe and her colleagues are entitled to use the party’s name, symbol, logo and trademarks.