MDC legislators and councillors have thrown their weight behind the leadership of Nelson Chamisa despite a Supreme Court ruling which put Thokozani Khupe at the helm in an acting capacity pending the holding of an extraordinary congress within three months.
The Supreme Court recently ruled MDC should recognise the structure established by the party’s congress in 2014 which made Khupe the party’s acting president pending an extraordinary congress.
The ruling also recognised Douglas Mwonzora as the secretary general and Morgan Komichi as the national chairman.
MDC Harare province chairperson Wellington Chikombo said the province’s MPs and councillors were rallying behind Chamisa and dared to challenge Khupe to move and occupy the party’s headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House (formerly Harvest House).
“We have 24 MPs in Harare province and all of them are behind our party principal Nelson Chamisa and we are standing with him and I have communicated with them and they have assured me that they are behind Chamisa.
Everyone knows that we held our own congress and elected Chamisa as our leader and that position has not changed,” Chikombo said.
“I also know that all the party structures in the province are backing Chamisa so Khupe and her team can continue to day dream and we cannot work with them and we challenge them to prove to us if she has any member of Parliament in the province supporting her.”
Some of the Harare Province MPs include former cabinet ministers Tapiwa Mashakada (Hatfield), Tendai Biti (Harare East) and Paurina Mpariwa (Proportional Representative). Provincial spokesperson Fani Munengami told Business Times they were behind the leadership of Chamisa. “ All the 41 councillors in the province had indicated that they do not recognise Khupe and the youths of the party have also dared Khupe to try to occupy our party headquarters and face the consequences.
I understand that the judgment did not address the issue of the party property as it is registered in the name of the party not of Khupe ,” Munengami said.
“The Khupe faction will not be allowed near our party’S headquarters because it does not belong to them.” Some of the councillors include Harare city mayor Herbert Gomba and Ian Makone who was the chief secretary to then former party leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai.
But Mwonzora said the MPs and councillors who are continuing supporting Chamisa and failing to recognise the Supreme Court ruling risk a recall from Parliament and Council chambers.
He said they were going ahead with organising the new elective date for a congress as directed by the Supreme Court and would not be bothered by utterances made by a group linked to Chamisa.
“We are law abiding citizens and we follow the rulings of the court that we have to respect it and these MPs and councillors who are still recognising Chamisa are lost and risk being recalled from parliament and councillor chambers by the party’s leadership and must come and join us in the preparation for the elective congress within three months,” Mwonzora said.
Khupe has been the vice president for MDC under the late leader Morgan Tsvangirai and argues that she is the most senior politician in the MDC structures than Chamisa. When Chamisa took over the leadership of MDC after the death of Tsvangirai in February 2018, Khupe formed her own MDC party and contested the presidential elections.
Prior to the Supreme Court ruling Komichi was in charge of the presidential affairs and Mwonzora being deputy secretary for international affairs under Chamisa’s leadership.
Mwonzora said they were waiting for lockdown before they can start any serious political programme but were in the process of organising logistics to hold extraordinary congress as per the Supreme court ruling.