By Robert Tapfumaneyi
EMBATTLED MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa has urged his followers not to panic over a recent High Court ruling invalidating his leadership, telling his Chiredzi ‘thank you’ rally on Sunday that matters were firmly under his party’s control.
Chamisa also appeared to steer clear of wide claims his party was disdainful of the country’s courts after the popular opposition earlier vowed to proceed with this week’s elective congress in a stance that contradicted High Court judge Edith Mushore’s orders for the party to hold an extra ordinary congress using structures created by its last congress 2014.
The court ruling came off a challenge by Gokwe based party activist Elias Mashavira who was adamant Chamisa bullied his way to the helm of the MDC in contempt of the party’s constitution which prescribes that all party leaders should emerge from a national congress.
The Harare lawyer and politician told party supporters the MDC was appealing the judgment, adding that his party was not at odds with the country’s judiciary.
“Now I want to be very clear, we don’t have a problem with courts and judges in the country,” Chamisa said.
“We (MDC) are built on the foundation of constitutionalism, rule of law, good governance and everything we do, we follow the law. So don’t worry, everything we have done is above the law.
“But the court saw otherwise and we respect that. We respect the judges because our new society is going to be built on the independence of the court, independence of the judiciary, separation of powers and we respect their determination.”
“But we have the right to appeal to the higher court. That we will pursue and our lawyers are seized with that matter.”
He added, “We are in the stadium of politics, the stadium of law is the purview of our lawyers. Don’t worry about party cases that are in the courts and that property will be seized, don’t worry about that.
“We are one hundred percent in charge and in control, so the party is solid.”
Commenting on breakaway MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe’s reaction to the judgment, Chamisa said his former ally misread the court ruling.
“I laughed when I heard my sister Khupe telling the nation and claiming that the judgment made her the leader of MDC,” he said.
“No, ‘my sister, you misread the law’. It did not mention you because you are not there. You have formed your own party, MDC-Thokozani.
“If Khupe wants to come back to the party with other people, we will not shut her out. The door is open. But ‘if you come back, you won’t be the leader’.
“You formed your own MDC-Thokozani, and we said lets go for elections. We are MDC original, that’s why you saw the late (party president Morgan) Tsvangirai instructed me to bring the whole team members, Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC), Tendai Biti (Peoples’ Democratic Party) because these are former members and everyone who wants to come back to the big tent.
“I agreed and said I will do as per your instruction.”
Chamisa also defended his party’s decision to keep three vice presidents saying this was part of Tsvangirai’s Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions background in which the labour group has four VPs.
He said his envisaged government shall stick to one VP, adding that his deputies were not drawing any salaries out of their positions.
“Some of you are not aware that we are not paid to work for the party. President is not paid, its voluntary work, my salary is your victory; when your victory comes, my salary has come.”
The former ICT Minister also declared his party shall not succumb to alleged Zanu PF attempts to destroy it.
“They (Zanu PF) tried to come in and cause confusion but what they don’t know is you cannot destroy a political party called MDC because the party was formed by the people and it can never be destroyed by boardroom tactics, it’s a people’s power,” he said.