OPINION: Parliament Of Zimbabwe In Shoddy Deals With A Weaker Faction Of The Opposition

Kennedy Kaitano writing for The Zimbabwean opined that there is a corrupt collusion between the Parliament, Senate and Government Zimbabwe and a faction of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (Tsvangirai) (MDC-T) and he urged the government to stop interfering in opposition parties’ politics. In the lengthy piece Kaitano opined:

Dear Inter-Parliamentary Union,

I am a concerned citizen of Zimbabwe who is worried bout the corrupt collusion between the Parliament, Senate and Government Zimbabwe and a faction of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (Tsvangirai) (MDC-T) following a “mooted” Supreme Court Judgement passed on 31 March which encouraged the warring factions of the MDC-T to organise a special Extra Ordinary Congress to elect a leader who will replace the founding President of the Party who passed away on 14 February 2018. I hope that my letter will find its  way to the appropriate offices for consideration.

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To give a bit of background, the Supreme Court Judgement came about as a result of a court appeal by a member of the MDC-T who felt he had not been accorded an opportunity to elect a President of his choice following the death of the late founding MDC-T President. In its wisdom, following the death of the founding President, the National Council of the MDC-T, chaired by Senator Morgan Komichi, who was the Acting Chairman in the absence of the 2014 elected Chairman Hon Lovemore Moyo, had decided to elevate one of the three Vice-Presidents of the Party, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, to the position of Acting President. Of the three Presidents, one Dr. Thokozani Khupe, was the only one who had been elected at the Party’s last Congress held in 2014, while Advocate and Senator Engineer Elias Mudzuri had been appointed to Vice President positions which had been found essential to strengthen the Party in readiness for the 2018 elections. Senator Morgan Komichi was assigned by the late MDC-T President to lead the consultation which resulted in those appointments, which were endorsed by the National Council of the Party.

The Supreme Court ruled that the appointments of the Vice-Presidents was unconstitutional according to the Party constitution, even though the Constitution gave the power to the National Council to make decisions in between congresses, and it also allowed the President to “appoint deputies to officers of Congress from a pool of National Executive members elected from provinces and other office bearers where such is provided for in the Constitution”. Officers of Congress are the officials who are elected at Congress, and the President is one of such officers. The Party had then thought that there was nothing sinister in the Vice-President appointments, so the Supreme Court Judgement really came as a surprise, and many believe that the Judgement was influenced by Government of Zimbabwe which likes to divide the opposition by siding with the weaker faction in the main opposition party.

Regardless of whether the Supreme Court judgement was influenced by Government or not, following its opinion that the Vie-President positions appointed in 2016 were not constitutional, the Court ruled that all decisions made after the death of Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai were null and void, and assigned the elected Vice-President, Dr. Khupe to organise an Extra Ordinary Congress to elect a replacement for the late leader (The Court ruling is attached with this letter for your perusal), and she was given 90 days to do so. Failure by Dr. Khupe to discharge the assignment within the time-frame, Senator Morgan Komichi, who the Court mistook to have been the Chairman of the Party at the time of death of Dr. Tsvangirai, if not influenced by the Government of Zimbabwe to declare Senator Komichi as the Chairman at the time of Dr. Tsvangirai. Let me clarify that assertion by saying that the Supreme Court said all decisions made by the MDC between the time of Dr. Tsvangirai’s death and the 31 March 2020 when the judgement was passed were null and void. At the time of Dr. Tsvangirai’s death, the Chairman of the MDC-T was Honorable Lovemore Moyo, Senator Komichi was a Deputy Chairman. Honorable Moyo only tendered his resignation on 23 March 2018 to an Acting President who the Court said could not make binding decisions. The resignation of  Hon Lovemore Moyo is, therefore not recognized by the Supreme Court. However, the Court mistook Senator Komichi to be the legitimate Chairman as the judges were not aware who was the Chairman of the Party at the time of Dr. Tsvangirai’s death, especially as Senator Komichi, who was third appellant in the court case had declared himself as the National Chairman of the first appellant. The Judges did not ask whether he became Chairman before or after the death of Dr. Tsvangirai, and this is something that should be raised with the Court. the legality of Senator Komichi’s Chairmanship aside, the Court mandated Senator Komichi to try to organise the suggested Extra Ordinary Congress in thirty days, failure which the issue becomes water under the bridge.

According to Section  6.2.6 the Party Constitution that was presented before the Supreme Court “a notice convening an Extra-Ordinary Congress shall be sent to all members entitled to attend and to each branch by the National Council at least one month before the date of the meeting”. However, a bogus Council meeting  to which eligible members known to be supporting Advocate Chamisa were not invited  was held through whatsapp as reported by local media. The meeting came up with a list of members of Parliament of the MDC Alliance who had to be recalled from Parliament and also unconstitutionally deliberated on the planning of the Extra Ordinary Congress. The meeting was unconstitutional in that it did not have a quorum, and eligible members had been left out.

It should be put on record that following the death of Dr. Tsvangirai, due to leadership differences, Dr. Khupe  and Advocate Chamisa registered for elections as two different parties, Dr. Khupe’s party using the name MDC-T while Advocate Chamisa’s team registered their party for the elections as MDC Alliance, a fact confirmed by Senator Mwonzora in media interviews at the time of the registration for elections. Now because of the Supreme Court ruling which never instructed Dr. Khupe to recall MDC Alliance Parliamentarians, who were elected under the MDC Alliance ticket. The Parliament and Senate have all their records showing that the number of seats and the names of the legislators won by MDC-T, and the Supreme Court judgement which Speaker of Parliament and President of the Senate say they based their decisions to expel MDC legislators from Parliament and Senate respectively does not instruct Dr. Khupe to recall any legislators. If anything, Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, who is a lawyer, should have read the Supreme Judgement carefully and understood that the mooted judgement, described as such by the Court, only gives a time frame for which Dr. Khupe and Senator Komichi should organise an Extra Ordinary Congress, failure which the parties which he Court was encouraging to unite will revert to their post Tsvangirai ventures. What then would happen if the warring parties do not get back together as suggested by the Supreme Court?

Besides, the the outcome of the Supreme Court implementation process, the MDC-T and MDC Alliance satisfied the requirement of the Zimbabwe Elections Act and registered with the Zimbabwe Elections Act as political parties for purposes of the elections, and each is entitled to enjoy the benefits of what they achieved in the elections. After all, the MDC-T as left by Dr. Tsvangirai was not operational at the time of the elections, so there is no way Dr. Khupe can claim parliamentarians who are a product of a process that took when it could not make decisions.

Instead of calling the appropriate structures that were in place as at the time of the death of Dr. Tsvangirai to organise the suggested Extra Ordinary Congress, Dr. Khupe is busy appointing people into positions which had officials who are supporting Advocate Chamisa, which are not the 2014 structures that should plan the Extra Ordinary Congress, and then go about telling the world that she is implementing the Supreme Court Judgement. Where in the Supreme Court Judgement is Dr. Khupe asked to replace officials from the 2014 structures, the very ones that should plan the Extra Ordinary Congress. There is no harm in Dr. Khupe filling gaps in the Party that she led into the 2018 elections, because that should be her fall back party should the Extra Ordinary Congress not happen, and already 9 days before the period she was given to organise it, no Constitutionally constituted council meeting has met to start planning for the Congress when the Party’s Constitution specifically states that the Communication for an Extra Ordinary Congress can only be made by Council, yet Dr. Khupe and her team are already telling the world that the Extra Ordinary Congress will take place on 31 July 2020. They should stop dreaming and face the reality that despite claiming to be implementing the Supreme Court ruling and upholding constitutionalism, they are doing the opposite. What they are calling an Extra Ordinary Congress does not meet the requirements of the Supreme Court Judgement and the Constitution of the Party combined, and therefore not binding.

The firing of officials of the MDC 2014 structures, despite being unconstitutionally carried out, is also not part of the Supreme Court Judgement. The Supreme Court Judgement does not mandate Dr. Khupe to fire officials of the party in place at the time of Dr. Tsvangrai’s death, but mandates her to unite them and is she successfully does so, organise the Extra-Ordinary Congress with them. Furthermore, there are processes laid down in the Constitution regarding the expulsion of officials from the Party, which Dr. Khupe did not follow. So, Dr. Khupe and Senator Mwonzora who wrote the expulsion letters are even worse that the hideous Zanu PF which follows procedures when expelling its officials. Recently, Zanu PF Politburo expelled Chivi South legislator, Mr Killer Zivhu following a recommendation by the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC). Zanu PF folowed a process there in expelling Mr. Zivhu, and ask the so-called Champions of Constitutionalism Dr. Khupe and Senator Mwonzora what process they followed in expelling Advocate Chamisa. Honorable Charlton Hwende, Senator Lilian Timveous and Honourable Thabhita Khumalo?

Interestingly, despite breaking the Supreme Court Judgement and the Party Constitution, Dr. Khupe and her team are getting support from Government, with the Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi stating that that the government would disburse the $7,5 million due to the MDC under the Political Parties (Finance) Act to the Thokozani Khupe led group that is temporarily in charge of the party following the recent court rulings. As leader of Government in Parliament, Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi should know better that the MDC-T and MDC Alliance are registered as different political parties, hence non should enjoy the other’s benefits.

What is evident from what has been happening is that the holding of an Extra Ordinary Congress of the MDC-T as prescribed by the Supreme Court has failed , and therefore that judgement is water under the bridge, unless if Dr. Khupe reflects on the numerous blunders she has made to date and quickly calls for a National Council meeting as required by the DC Constitution to get the Extra Ordinary Congress back on track, but that will also be an uphill task with numerous court cases pending before the courts arising from her own blunders.

Government of Zimbabwe, Parliament and Senate should stop supporting a faction of the warring MDC, and are in contempt of the Supreme Court Judgement  for their unethical interference to date.

More: The Zimbabwean 

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