A FRESH battle is looming in the fractured MDC over delegates to the party’s extra-ordinary congress in December with supporters of Nelson Chamisa barred from attending and now threatening to seek legal recourse.
This comes as Chamisa has instructed his MDC Alliance members – who were part of the MDC structures in 2014 – to prepare for the congress, ostensibly to exercise their right to vote granted by the March 31 Supreme Court ruling that ordered the assembly to elect the party president.
It also comes as MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has decreed that anyone in support of Chamisa after the court ruled that Thokozani Khupe was the interim president of the party had automatically expelled themselves and would not participate in the congress.
But in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende accused Mwonzora of politicking.
“As the MDC Alliance, we have realised that thousands of our members were asked by the Supreme Court to exercise their right to correct what went wrong in the MDC-T by holding an extra-ordinary congress to elect our late icon Morgan Tsvangirai’s successor. So, we have allowed them to be part of the process.
“This is a right they were given by the courts and we will, therefore, not stop them from going there, they are free to participate in the extra-ordinary congress as ordered by the Supreme Court,” Hwende said.
“Any effort to bar them will be resisted politically as well as legally by approaching the courts as soon as possible for them to define who the bona fide delegates are.
“They must participate and stop Zanu-PF from abusing the legacy of our late president and also to ensure that the democratic project is not delivered to Zanu-PF by puppets masquerading as opposition leaders. Zanu-PF wants to capture the opposition using Mwonzora and this must be resisted.”
Addressing the media after Khupe’s standing committee meeting last week, Mwonzora said those who hold positions in the MDC Alliance as well as 31 MPs and several councillors the MDC recalled would not be part of the delegates.
Apart from the delegates from the MDC’s over 9 000 wards, 210 districts, 12 local provinces and three external, the party’s national standing committee, national executive and national council members form the electoral college to the congress.
This comes as last week the Supreme Court gave Khupe up to November 30 to hold the party’s extra-ordinary congress to elect a new president. In the event of her failure, the court directed that MDC national chairperson Morgen Komichi should do it by December 30.
Khupe had approached the Supreme Court seeking guidance on the matter after the same court in March ordered the MDC to hold an elective congress within three months.
However, due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the party had been failing to hold the congress. The MDC then made an application at the Supreme Court on July 29 seeking an extension to Khupe’s current term.
The Supreme Court judgment spells out that Khupe was the legitimate heir to take over the leadership of the party, albeit on an interim basis, following the death of Tsvangirai on February 14, 2018.
Since the ruling which reposed powers in Khupe, there has been unending drama as 31 legislators and councillors have so far been recalled from Parliament and councils for “ceasing to be party members”.
Khupe has since expelled Chamisa from the 2014 structures for the same offence. According to the MDC constitution, at least two thirds of the 6 000 delegates form a quorum for congress, although a simple majority can proceed provided that a proper congress is held within six months.
All this comes as Khupe has been locked out of the party’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) House headquarters after MDC youths led by Harare provincial youth assembly chairperson Paul Gorekore took it over last week in a desperate bid to force dialogue between Khupe and Chamisa.