Reinstated MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said that he would consider a petition made by the faction led by Nelson Chamisa (MDC Alliance) for the party’s interim leadership led by Thokozani Khupe to convene a 2014 leaders’ meeting next month.
Mwonzora made the remarks during an interview with the Daily News on Thursday night after Chamisa’ allies convened a meeting in Harare that was attended by many of the party’s 2014 members.
Reports indicate that 158 out of the 191 members of the 2014 MDC national council (NC)attended the meeting that was held at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday.
Mwonzora said he would consider the petition though another national council meeting had already set the date for the court-directed extraordinary congress (July 31). He said:
"If they are acknowledging the Supreme Court decision and … the constitution of the MDC, then I will look at their petition, but there is no need for a meeting to discuss the Supreme Court ruling.
"However, what is clear is that today’s (yesterday’s) meeting is not a meeting in terms of the constitution of the MDC.
"It cannot be the meeting of the national council because such a meeting is convened by the secretary-general and chaired by the national chairperson. I will, however, look at the substance of their petition."
The members of the MDC’s 2014 national standing committee included the late Morgan Tsvangirai (president), Khupe (deputy president), Lovemore Moyo (national chairperson), Komichi (deputy national chairperson, Mwonzora (secretary-general) and Abednico Bhebhe (organising secretary).
Other members were Paurina Mpariwa (deputy secretary-general), Theresa Makone (treasurer-general) and Chalton Hwende (deputy treasurer-general), Amos Chibaya (deputy organising secretary), Obert Gutu (secretary for information and publicity), Thabitha Khumalo (deputy secretary for information and publicity secretary), Lynnette Karenyi Kore (Women’s Assembly chairperson) and Happymore Chidziva (Youth Assembly chairperson).
In a statement after the meeting, the 2014 National Council resolved to petition all former National Standing Committee members including Komichi and Mwonzora to another meeting scheduled for 6 June.
“We the leaders of the former National Council of the former MDC resolved in terms of the constitution to petition the former National Standing Committee members including Komichi and Mwonzora to facilitate a National Council meeting within 14 days on the 6th of June to respond to the Supreme Court judgment,” the statement reads.
“Resolved to stop Mwonzora, Komichi, and Khupe to act on behalf of the former MDC and its organs prior to the said meeting. Mwonzora acted illegally by recalling MPs of another party MDC Alliance as a party distinct from the former MDC.
“The purported July 31 date of the extraordinary congress is illegal and invalid because it was done unilaterally and against the constitution of the former MDC.”
In the Supreme Court ruling, the MDC-T was also ordered to hold an extraordinary congress within 90 days to elect a new leader to fill the vacancy left by Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai died in 2018 and on the news of his demise, Chamisa railroaded MDC-T structures to appoint him acting president ahead of other co-vice presidents, Khupe and Elias Mudzuri.
Speaking to the media, Mpariwa said; “What is bizarre is that the Supreme Court judgment elevates the former vice chairperson (Komichi) when the then chairperson Lovemore Moyo has not been notified of the ruling.”
Moyo resigned from the MDC-T in 2018.
“No court can rewrite the rules of a voluntary organisation,” said Mpariwa.
In its statement, the MDC-T said it was concerned the Supreme Court had been deployed to destroy the party.
“We are extremely concerned that the Supreme Court judgment has been deployed to destroy the people’s struggle and advance the capture of the opposition in Zimbabwe.
“We also note that whole judgment must be viewed in the context of the 2018 election dispute of which Mr. (Emmerson) Mnangagwa has never rested after being defeated from the poll.
“The Supreme Court judgment is so absurd for the following reasons; it was handed nicodemously during the lockdown, there are few people who knew about the judgment in advance, Khupe, Mwonzora, and Komichi.
“What is even bizarre is the interest of State institutions, The Herald, Parliament, Police, and ZBC. The Supreme Court (judgment) was covered live showing a big hand of the State. Parliament breached the lockdown principle to reconvene and illegally recall MDC Alliance MPs.”