Fresh Gokwe headache for Chamisa, congress in limbo

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By Staff Reporter

DISPUTED opposition MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa will have to deal with a new challenge to his plans to hold an elective congress this week, after a Gokwe based party activist approached the High Court seeking to stop the process.

According to Maureen Tawenga’s lawyer Ashel Mutungura, the case will be argued later on Thursday.

“She (Tawenga) is seeking an interdict to stop the MDC from holding an ordinary congress this week. Her arguments are that the party should instead hold an extra-ordinary congress now.

“The MDC’s ordinary congress is only due in October. She will argue that the first Respondent (the MDC) has perpetuated an illegality by seeking to hold an ordinary congress this month,” Mutungura said.

In court papers seen by, Tawenga has petitioned the High Court to stop what she says is a ‘sham’ congress aimed at smuggling into the MDC, a leadership that is illegitimate.

“The respondents supra have meanwhile proceeded to organise an ordinary congress at Gweru on the 24th of May 2019, as opposed to the extra ordinary congress, to choose the successor to the late president of MDC,” said the applicant who also listed the police Officer Commanding Midlands Province.

Tawenga pleaded with the court that the matter be treated as urgent.

“This matter cannot wait for the ordinary court roll as the respondents have already scheduled their illegitimate congress for the 24th of May 2019.

“I am advised that by my counsel and believe same as true that the death of Dr Morgan Tsvangirai created only one vacancy that has to be filled in. I am further advised that this vacancy should be filled in by an extra ordinary congress in terms of the party’s constitution,” she argued.

“I am also advised that the MDC cannot be dragged to an ordinary congress without  a president. “

According to Tawenga, Chamisa, Mwonzora, vice president Morgen Komichi and organising secretary Amos Chibaya are illegitimate. She added that the High Court has already declared Chamisa illegitimate.

“Since the date of the judgment, like all loyal members of the party, I waited in expectation of the respondents compliance and recognition of it. That has not happened to date.

“Post the judgment supra, the second respondent (Chamisa), especially has made several statements to the effect that the national ordinary congress set for Gweru will proceed as the judgment did not specifically bar it.

“I urge this honourable court to take judicial notice of the various statements in the media directly by Chamisa and or through his spokespersons,” said Tawenga.

“The actions of Chamisa are meant to cause serious and permanent financial and political prejudice to the party.”

In her arguments, Tawenga says given Chamisa has been declared illegitimate, every process done under his watch is also unconstitutional and invalid.

“The delegates to the national congress espoused by the lower structure congresses are illegitimate. The nominations held in preparation for this ordinary congress are therefore illegitimate,” the activist will argue.

Tawenga also added that party vice chairperson Tendai Biti, vice president Welshman Ncube, lawmakers Daniel Molokela, Settlement Chikwinya, who were nominated to contest for various offices of the party belong to other parties and should not be allowed to take part in MDC processes.

“The proposed congress at Gweru is an attempt to smuggle into the MDC,  (a) leadership that is ineligible to contest, voted by delegates who are ineligible to vote, in a sham congress that is not due and has been convened by persons who are ineligible to convene it,” said Tawenga.

“I have no any other remedy than to pray for this court for a relief herein sought. The relief that I seek is not available in the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanisms.”

Mutungura added: “The applicant will also argue that she has been kicked out of the party illegally and that what has been happening (process towards congress) is illegal. The case will be heard today (Thursday) at 4pm at the High Court.”

Early this month, another Gokwe based MDC activist Elias Mashavira won a High Court case in declaring Chamisa illegitimate.

The MDC was thrown into turmoil, after High Court Judge, Justice Edith Mushore ruled that Chamisa’s appointment as party vice president in 2016 by the late opposition founding president Morgan Tsvangirai was null and void.

Justice Mushore has also ordered the MDC to hold an extra-ordinary congress within a month declaring Chamisa’s takeover after Tsvangirai’s death last year was ultra-vires the party’s constitution.

Chamisa has scoffed at the High Court judgment and declared the party’s congress will proceed.