Chamisa legitimacy: MDC moves to protect party leader

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By Idah Mhetu recently in Gweru

THE MDC has moved to block any further legal challenges against Nelson Chamisa’s leadership by adopting a raft of resolutions that effectively bans party activists from challenging his legitimacy in court.

In resolutions read out by re-elected national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo at the end of the party’s congress Monday, stringent restrictions have been placed on attempts to challenge Chamisa’s position in court.

“No member shall institute any legal proceedings or commit any external complaint or proceed without exhausting all domestic remedies provided for in the constitution.

“In addition, no member shall institute legal proceedings or complaints unless such member is a fully paid up member and has been a fully paid up member in the preceding year before any such action,” the resolutions read.

“Any member violating this shall be deemed expelled from the point of institution of such proceedings.”

Chamisa rose to power in controversial circumstances hours after founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai succumbed to colon cancer in South Africa last year.

The youthful politician railroaded the party’s national council with help from a militant group known as the Vanguard to get endorsement as Tsvangirai’s successor.

However, Chamisa’s leadership was brought into question after Gokwe based activist Elias Mashavira brought an application before the High Court last year.

High Court Judge, Justice Edith Mushore early this month ruled that Chamisa was illegitimate sparking internal chaos.

The party was also ordered to convene an extraordinary congress but has since appealed the decision allowing it to proceed with the ordinary congress that ended this week with Chamisa confirmed as substantive leader.

Khumalo added: “Furthermore, congress resolved that any member of the party who goes on to form another party or contests for elections as an independent candidate will automatically be expelled from the party.

“Congress resolved that any member of the party who runs another party or organisation or supports another political party other than MDC or participates in elections as an independent candidate or supports the candidature of an independent candidate shall automatically be expelled from the party.”

Former secretary general Douglas Mwonzora has been accused of being the power behind the legal challenges including a last ditch bid to stop the congress last week that was rejected by Justice Mushore.

The MDC also resolved that the congress had cured Justice Mushore’s order for a congress to legitimise Chamisa.