Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, that well-decorated late founding president of the ‘original’ MDC party birthed in 1999 to challenge the excesses of the markedly misfiring long-ruling Zanu PF, could be turning in his grave to hear that his subordinates, are now saying his MDC died in October 2019, a shy 20 months away from the day Tsvangirai also breathed his last in neighbouring South Africa.
Now, the late popular opposition figure’s understudies, constituting both the National Council and National Executive MDC organs, ushered into office by the 2014 contentious congress until 2018 when their leader eventually lost a brave fight against cancer of the colon, say Tsvangirai’s opposition establishment is, literally speaking, now a thing of the past.
The leaders and members of the National Council were reacting to a shock Supreme Court ruling handed on 31 March 2020, which declared Thokozani Khupe interim leader of the main opposition, ahead of an extraordinary Congress to elect Tsvangirai’s substantive successor.
“President Tsvangirai died on the 14th February 2018 and the acting leader was supposed to act for one year to February 2019 and the next congress was due in October 2019. As such no court can rewrite the rules of a voluntary association,” the MDC 2014 National Council members argued.
According to the national council, ‘terms of all office bearers and organs of the former MDC mandate expired in October 2019 and it cannot be revived without condonation and authority of the membership’.
The members also said the July 31 date set by the Khupe camp for the holding of the extraordinary congress to elect the late Tsvangirai’s successor, was illegitimate.
They also said the ruling was delivered ‘nicodemously’ and during the Covid19 lockdown, without the knowledge of Chamisa’s MDC Alliance. Only Morgen Komichi and Douglas Mwonzora, who unceremoniously dumped Chamisa and defected to Khupe after the shock SC ruling, were privy to the proceedings at the courts.
“There are a few people who knew about the judgement, (only) Khupe, Mwonzora and Komichi in advance. Mwonzora and Komichi gave an address purporting to represent the Party at Supreme Court and seemingly privy to the content of the judgement and the ideal was to bring the verdict to the organs of the Party for determination,” party reads the communique.
Read the full statement below:
“Communique of the 2014 National Council held at Morgan Tsvangirai House on 21 May 2020.
We the leaders and members who constituted both the National Council and the National Executive of the former MDC before the demise of President Morgan Richard Tsvangirai came together this day and reflected on the following
(a) The context of the supreme court judgment
(b) Our interpretation of the supreme court judgement
(c) The way forward
CONTEXT OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT
We are extremely concerned that the Supreme Court judgement has been deployed to destroy the people’s struggle and advance the capture of the opposition in Zimbabwe.
We also note that the whole judgment must be viewed in the context of the 2018 election dispute of which Mr Mnangagwa has never rested after being defeated from the poll. The Supreme Court judgement is so absurd for the following reasons.
(a) It was handed nicodemously during lockdown
(b) There are a few people who knew about the judgement, Khupe, Mwonzora and Komichi in advance.
(c) Mwonzora and Komichi gave an address purporting to represent the Party at Supreme Court and seemingly privy to the content of the judgement and the ideal was to bring the verdict to the organs of the Party for determination.
(d) What is even bizarre is the interest of state institutions, The Herald and ZBC. The Supreme Court was covered live showing a big hand of the State.
(e) Parliament breached lockdown principles to reconvene and illegally recall MDC Alliance MPs on account of a letter written by MDC T. The State abused parliament by reconvening it for purposes of recalling MDC Alliance MPs.
(f) We also note that the Supreme Court judgement has been deliberately misinterpreted and extended to mean what it doesn’t more particularly the misbegotten reference to 2014 which is nowhere in the judgement.
INTERPRETATION OF THE JUDGEMENT
I. The Supreme Court judgement enjoyed the former MDC to convene an extra ordinary congress within 3 months and further went on to give the former VP Khupe who at the point of Tsvangirai’s demise was no longer a member having ceased attending constitutional meetings in June 2018 to be a member of the Party.
II. The judgement further instructed Morgan Komichi the former vice chairperson of the former MDC to convene the extra ordinary congress in the event of the failure by the former VP. What is bizarre is that SC judgement elevates the former vice chairperson to the position of Chairperson despite that the former Chairperson was Lovemore Moyo and had not told the court that he was unable to execute his duties.
III. We fundamentally disagree with the SC decision for the following reasons.
(a) It is calling an extraordinary congress where the need for an extra ordinary congress does not exist anymore. President Tsvangirai died on the 14th February 2018 and the acting leader was supposed to act for one year to February 2019 and the next congress was due in October 2019. As such no court can rewrite the rules of a voluntary association.
(b) The terms of all office bearers’ and organs of the former MDC mandate expired in October 2019 and it cannot be revived without condonation and authority of the membership.
(c) The judgement does not specify the structure that is going to implement the legacy and historical issues and the term of office of the so elected president at the extra ordinary congress.
(d) We have also seen that the former SG of the former MDC is now unilaterally,vindictively and against the rule of law abusing the SC judgement usurping the powers of the lawful organs now writing to parliament ,minister of local government, for the avoidance of doubt all the recalls are not bind by lawfulness therefore null and void.
(e) The former MDC congress should have 6000 delegates and for it to be legal its quorum should be two thirds and it is impossible to attain the same without the agreement and cooperation of the majority of members.
(i) 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 judgement at a venue that achieves compliance with COVID lockdown regulations.
(ii) Resolved to stop Mwonzora, Komichi and Khupe to act on behalf of the former MDC and its organs prior to the said meeting of 6th June.
(iii) Mwonzora has acted illegally by recalling MPs of another party, MDC Alliance without the authority or resolution of the lawful organs of the former MDC.
(iv) 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”.
Content: MDC Communications