Zimbabwe’s Opposition Goes Broke, Closes Up Shop
The Movement for Democratic Change headquarters has been left empty after the messenger of court pounced on the party’s offices, seizing property in order to settle a U.S.$108,000 debt owed to a former employee. The party is reportedly holding its national executive and standing committee meetings at its leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s residence.
By Tendai Mugabe
MDC-T has temporarily shut down its Harvest House headquarters in central Harare after the Sheriff of the High Court attached its furniture to recover $108 000 in labour damages the party owes a former employee, Ms Sally Dura.
The Herald is reliably informed that the opposition party’s other assets risk attachment and auctioning as more creditors pop up to make their claims.
Sources said on the day the Sheriff attached the party’s property, national executive members were forced to abandon a meeting that was in session because chairs they were using were part of the attached property.
The meeting was later concluded at Mr Tsvangirai’s residence, which has turned out to be the party’s new “head office.”
The Herald is also informed that the party hid some of the furniture in Mr Tsvangirai’s office before the Sheriff’s arrival.
“We are now having meetings of the national executive and the standing committee at Mr Tsvangirai’s residence after that incident,” said the source.
“We had been holding some of these meetings occasionally at his (Mr Tsvangirai) residence before for other reasons such as security, but now its official until things normalise at Harvest House. Remember, the meeting that resolved to retain Mr Tsvangirai as party president soon after his defeat in the 2013 elections was held at his house.”
Asked if MDC-T was that broke judging by the quality of the furniture that was attached, the source said: “Did you see the chair that Morgan sits on when you come for press conferences among the chairs that were attached?
“Most of the furniture that is in good condition was removed from Harvest House before the Sheriff came and some was locked in other offices. We are not that dull to allow the Sheriff to go away with all our property like that.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu could not give convincing answers yesterday on the matter, but invited The Herald to come for a tour of Harvest House today.
“I was actually dealing with my team at Harvest House today,” he said.
“Things are okay and this is a minor setback. We are Zimbabwe’s biggest political party and if Sally Dura and detractors thought that they were going to stifle our operations then they got it completely wrong.
“We are up and about. We have millions of supporters and well-wishers in Zimbabwe. Some of these things are just rumours.”
The Sheriff attached and removed sets of sofas, office chairs and tables, desktop computers, printers, fridges, and other property, leaving the offices from the ground floor to the seventh floor virtually empty.
The property was later offloaded at a warehouse in the light industrial area.
The Sheriff was acting on the instructions of Ms Dura who won labour damages amounting to $108 951.
The MDC-T still owes some of its employees hundreds of thousands in unpaid salaries and is in the process of being sued by the workers.