THE Bulawayo High Court has ordered embattled MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe and her allies to vacate the party’s provincial offices and hand the facility over to deputy mayor Gift Banda who is the party’s provincial chairperson.
The ruling followed an urgent High Court chamber application by Banda seeking an order prohibiting Khupe and her team from interfering with or disrupting meetings at the party’s provincial headquarters in the second biggest city.
Banda immediately welcomed the ruling.
“The MDC-T Bulawayo Province wishes to welcome the decision of the High Court this morning restoring the province into occupation of its offices and directing the eviction of those who had violently seized these offices. According to the judgement, we are supposed to resume our normal duties at the offices as soon as possible,” he said.
Provincial spokesperson, Felix Magalela Sibanda added; “We are excited and applaud the due process applied herein.
“We have been vindicated that the cabal has no legal basis to violently invade our offices. We appeal to our members to follow due process and restrain themselves when provoked by the same.”
Khupe has been embroiled in a bitter fight with new party leader Nelson Chamisa who took over after the death founding party president Morgan Tsvangirai. The former prime minister succumbed to colon cancer in a South African hospital on February 14.
Khupe reckons she is the legitimate successor to Tsvangirai and has refused to recognise Chamisa who was endorsed by the party’s national executive as the substantive president of the party.
The national executive council gave Khupe a seven-day ultimatum to shape up or ship out, which she rejected before rallying her supporters to occupy the party’s provincial offices in Bulawayo.
Banda had, through his lawyers, sought an order directing the Sheriff of the High Court to take necessary measures to evict Khupe and members of her faction from the party offices which they had seized during skirmishes on March 4 and went on to bar Banda from holding party meetings at the offices.
The Bulawayo deputy mayor had cited Khupe, her personal assistant Witness Dube, MDC-T national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe and six others as respondents.
On Friday, Banda reiterated his support for Chamisa.
“We wish to state on record that we are 100 percent behind Acting President Advocate Nelson Chamisa in line with the party’s National Council resolution. As such, we do not recognise any other person as first in command in the MDC-T,” he said.
“We have been made aware of vice-President Khupe’s plans to hold a meeting in Bulawayo tomorrow (Saturday).
“We want to make it categorically clear that as a province, we are not part of this meeting. We did not sanction it, and as far as we are concerned it is an illegal meeting.
“We are also aware that some dubious political parties that have been graciously rented their members to Khupe.”