The MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe has changed the date on the holding of its extraordinary congress by bringing it back to July 31, the date originally earmarked for the Indaba.
Last week MDC-T deputy spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni announced that the Supreme Court-directed extra-ordinary congress had been moved forward to between September 4 and 6 this year.
However, speaking on Saturday to the Daily News on Sunday, Phugeni said the party’s lawyers were consulting to establish if the Supreme Court ruling allowed the party to change the dates. Said Phugeni:
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Our lawyers had an understanding that when the Chief Justice handed the judgment that directed us to hold an extraordinary congress in three months; he had given us a six-week extension.
The lawyers are now engaging the Chief Justice to get clarity on the matter and we are going to inform the nation if there are any changes when we get feedback from the authorities.
However, MDC-T lawyer Lovemore Madhuku told the publication that Chief Justice Malaba had not given the party the permission to push the congress dates. He said:
It will be wrong for them to say the Chief Justice gave them the green light to push dates forward. What they are trying to do is to take advantage of the directive he gave to suspend court activities except for urgent cases when the COVID-19 lockdown started on March 31.
The directive had nothing to do with their congress so it is their own interpretation to say if some activities were prevented from happening, we also could argue that we were bound by that directive which expired on the 11th of May.
The Supreme Court judgement was delivered on 31 March this year and directed interim MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe to convene an extraordinary congress – within 90 days – of the party’s 2014 structures to elect a substantive president to replace the late Morgan Tsvangirai who died in February 2018.