By Pamenus Tuso
BULAWAYO: The High Court has reserved judgement on an urgent chamber application I which MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa is seeking an order barring rival Thokozani Khupe from using the party’s registered trademark and symbols.
Chamisa and Khupe are both claiming to be legitimate leaders of the MDC-T following the death of the party’s founding president Morgan Tsvangirai this February and a long battle against colon cancer.
On Tuesday Justice Francis Bere said he will deliver his judgement next week on the application by Chamisa’s faction after hearing preliminary arguments by the rivals’ legal representatives.
Chamisa was represented by Advocate Lucas Nkomo and Josphat Tshuma while Professor Lovemore Madhuku is appearing for Khupe.
Justice Bere said he needed to go through the voluminous submissions before ruling on whether the case should be heard on an urgent basis.
In his submissions Prof Madhuku maintained that Khupe is the bona fide leader of the MDC–T, adding that the case did not deserve to be treated as an urgent matter.
He cited a section of the party’s constitution which indicates that the vice president can assume the MDC-T’s leadership if the presidency becomes vacant.
However, Nkomo said the section which the respondents were relying on was no longer valid after the amendment of the party constitution.
Following the constitutional changes, the party’s national council and national executive were empowered to appoint a leader, Nkomo explained.
He further also cited the Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Robert Mugabe Zanu PF case which he said set a precedent.
Khupe and her handful supporters attended the hearing.
Tsvangirai’s succession has turned out to be a bitterly contested affair, often featuring violent clashes between the rival groups.
Chamisa has since expelled Khupe and her allies from the party and recently secured the former deputy prime minister’s recall from Parliament.
However, a defiant Khupe has challenged the legislative recall at Constitutional Court in a case where she is also represented by Prof Madhuku.
Her group will also a congress this Saturday to elect a new party leadership.