THE High Court has ruled in favour of the two MDC Alliance legislators who were seeking an order to bar Thokozani Khupe and Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, from replacing them after they were recalled from Parliament by her faction.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Lillian Timveos and Tabitha Khumalo sought the intervention of the courts after Douglas Mwonzora, who was elected to Senate on an MDC Alliance ticket before switching camp, recalled four legislators on April 3 following the Supreme Court ruling that Nelson Chamisa was “unconstitutionally” elevated to the post of vice-president, paving way for his eventual rise to lead the opposition party.
Mwonzora argued that the Khupe-led faction had the right to recall and replace the legislators who were elected under the banner of the rival faction.
The matter was heard yesterday by Justice Joseph Mafusire who then granted an interdict sought by the two legislators.
This was confirmed by their lawyer Charles Kwaramba.
“The court has granted an interdict to stop the Douglas Mwonzora and the Thokozani Khupe-led group from replacing those recalled members — that is Khumalo and Timveos,” he said.
In their application, the two legislators had cited Mwonzora, Khupe, MDC-T, Mudenda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona and chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Priscilla Chigumba as respondents.
In his founding affidavit, Mwonzora had argued that the Khupe-led camp had a right to replace the two recalled MPs because they had publicly stated that they were no longer members of the MDC-T, which party they belonged to at the time of elections.
Mwonzora further said Timveos and Khumalo had been recalled in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and, therefore, any filling in of their positions was to be made as provided for in the Constitution as read with the Electoral Act, but Justice Mafusire ruled otherwise.
However, in their response, the two legislators maintained they participated in the 2018 harmonised elections under the MDC Alliance banner, which had its own logo, name and symbol and not under the MDC-T, which was behind their recall.
The current dispute came after the Supreme Court removed Chamisa as the MDC leader following a leadership wrangle between him and Khupe in 2018.
Chamisa and Khupe parted ways following the death of the MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.
After Tsvangirai’s death, Chamisa immediately assumed the party presidency and in the process, had a nasty spat with Khupe, who then was one of the party’s deputy presidents.
In April this year, the Supreme Court ordered the party to return to its 2014 structures and hold an extraordinary congress to elect a new leadership, prompting the Khupe-led faction to recall Timveos, Khumalo and two other legislators from Parliament.