The High Court has ruled that the decision by the late former MDC-T president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to handpick two additional vice presidents was illegal and that the party should hold an extraordinary congress within a month using 2014 structures.
This follows an application by Gokwe district organising secretary Elias Mashavire challenging the 2016 decision by the late MDC-T leader who handpicked Mr Nelson Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri as his deputies together with Dr Thokozani Khupe who had been voted for at the 2014 congress.
Mr Chamisa and Dr Khupe went their separate ways following the death of Mr Tsvangirai in February last year.
At the time, Dr Khupe insisted she was the bona fide MDC-T leader because she was the only vice president elected at congress.
Yesterday, Justice Edith Mushore ruled that the appointments by Mr Tsvangirai of Mr Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri as party co-vice presidents three years ago was invalid.
Mr Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri were listed as second and third respondents in the matter.
“The appointment of second (Chamisa) and third (Mudzuri) respondents as deputy presidents of the MDC party were unconstitutional and therefore null and void,” said Justice Mushore.
“The appointment of the second respondent as acting president and president of the MDC party was unconstitutional and therefore null and void.”
In addition, the judge ruled that all the decisions made under the Nelson Chamisa administration are invalid and he cannot preside over party matters.
“All appointments and or reassignments and all actions of the second respondent in his purported capacities as deputy/acting or incumbent president were unconstitutional.
“The first respondent (MDC) be and is hereby ordered to hold an extra-ordinary congress after the lapse of at least one month after the date of this order.”
This means the party’s national council has to go back and follow dictates of their constitution to deal with the upcoming congress.
It also means that Mr Chamisa cannot preside over the congress because he was an ordinary card-carrying member of the party before his surprise elevation.
In her ruling, Justice Mushore noted that the MDC considered democracy as a core value, to the extent that, its policies are to be determined by its membership and further its leadership “shall be accountable to the people as defined by its Constitution”.
In this case, the court found that the social democracy theme underpinned the entire MDC Constitution.
“Thus the imposition of deputy presidents as was the case in 2016 by the late president (Tsvangirai) and the delegation and imposition of a candidate by the national council and the imposition by the second respondent acting in concert with the purported council meeting of the 15th February 2018, to be appointed president are contradictory to the democratic intention behind the selection of leadership within the first respondent.”
“Those actions were acts of disenfranchisement, not only for the applicant, who was not invited to participate, but potentially the first respondent’s membership who have been deprived an election.”
“Succession by choice is not intra vires the first respondent’s constitution.
Justice Mushore also took aim at Mr Chamisa and the party’s secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora as lawyers, saying they should have appreciated the unconstitutionality of all of the actions which led to the former and Eng Mudzuri to become deputy presidents.
It was also the court’s finding that Mr Mashavire proved that he had a real and substantial interest in the remedy of a declarateur.
Mashavire also demonstrated that the appointment of the duo in 2016 and the subsequent appointment of Mr Chamisa to lead the party were in breach of the constitution and void ab initio (from the start)