The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an appeal by MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa in his row with rival Thokozani Khupe over the use of the opposition party’s party name, symbol and logo.
Justice Paddington Garwe, sitting with Justices Anne-Marie Gowora and Antonia Guvava, set aside a High Court ruling allowing Khupe and her followers to use the opposition party’s logo and emblem.
Chamisa had appealed a ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge thwarting his bid to stop Khupe’s faction from using the party name and symbols.
In his determination, Justice Garwe set aside the lower court’s ruling and referred the matter back to the High Court to be heard under a different judge.
“It is ordered by consent that the appeal be and is hereby allowed with no order as to costs,” ruled the Supreme Court.
“The judgment of the (lower) Court a quo be is hereby set aside and in its place the application for this matter to be dealt with on an urgent basis is granted.
“In view of the material disputes of the fact afflicting the application, it is ordered that the application be referred to trial for the resolution of whether there are two MDC-T parties and if not, whether the respondents are entitled to the use of the name, symbol, logo and trademarks of the MDC-T.”
Representing the Khupe faction, Professor Lovemore Madhuku said: “What the court has decided is that there are two serious disputes over who is the real MDC-T.
“… (the Supreme Court) has referred back the matter to the High Court and to have each party to bring evidence on why they claim they are the legitimate MDC-T.
“This is going to be done in five days for each party to make submissions to the High Court.”
Chamisa’s lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu added; “The Supreme Court has taken the position that the High Court erred in the preliminary points and for that reason, it has upheld the appeal.”
Chamisa and Khupe are fighting for exclusive entitlement to the party name and symbols after bitterly falling out over the succession of founding MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer in February this year.