The reconvened MDC-T 2014 National Executive and Council members met Thursday at the party’s headquarters and ordered their acting president, Thokozani Khupe, reinstated secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and chairperson Morgen Komichi to stop – with immediate effect – acting on behalf of the “former MDC and its organs”.
The politicians are all now MDC Alliance loyalists under disputed party leader Nelson Chamisa.
The meeting, held Thursday at the former Harvest House (now Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House), was an attempt to comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling the party should return to its 2014 structures and choose a substantive leader to replace the now late founding president Tsvangirai.
The court granted Khupe stewardship of the party after declaring Chamisa’s rise to the helm of the main opposition violated the party’s constitution.
But while being an attempt to turn the clock to 2014, the meeting also turned out to be an exercise to affirm support for the party incumbent and a simultaneous attempt to clip the wings of Khupe, Komichi, and Mwonzora.
Mwonzora recently recalled four MDC Alliance MPs from Parliament and has threatened to recall more legislators for siding with Chamisa.
The expelled MPs are; Charlton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami, Thabitha Khumalo, and Lilian Timveous.
At least 158 politicians who were MDC-T district or provincial chairpersons and National Council and Executive members in the 2014 structures attended the meeting chaired by then deputy secretary-general, Paurina Mpariwa at Richard Morgan Tsvangirai House in central Harare.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mpariwa, who also doubles as the chairperson of the women’s assembly in the MDC Alliance, said only 33 out of the expected 191 chairpersons failed to attend due to various reasons.
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.”