Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
newly-elected MDC-T president, Mr Douglas Mwonzora, yesterday assumed his new role as opposition leader and immediately unveiled a new executive in which he retained his election rivals — Dr Thokozani Khupe, Mr Morgan Komichi and Engineer Elias Mudzuri.
This is despite the fact that the trio had earlier on rejected Mr Mwonzora’s electoral victory, accusing him and his supporters of rigging.
This comes as MDC-T lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku gave a legal opinion in which he averred that Mr Mwonzora was duly elected as president of the party and Dr Khupe could not lawfully nullify the election process once it had been placed in motion.
Prof Madhuku said once an independent election management body took over running of election and the first vote cast, all candidates including Dr Khupe were equal and could not unilaterally nullify the process except that election body charged with running of polls or a competent court of law.
“Once it is accepted that Douglas Mwonzora is presumed to be duly elected until his election is set aside by a competent court, it follows that there could not have been a valid meeting of the national council on 28 December to 2020 without that meeting having been convened by him or under his authority,” reads the legal opinion. Further, if it is accepted that the extraordinary congress was never cancelled at law, the meeting of 28 December 2020 could neither confirm, endorse or ratify a non-existent cancellation.”
Yesterday’s press conference was held at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, the party headquarters where Mr Mwonzora announced a new leadership that constituted the party’s standing committee and retained his rivals among other key appointments.
According to the new structure of the executive, Dr Khupe reverted to her position as first vice president alongside Eng Mudzuri while Mr Komichi retained his post as national chairperson.
The press conference was also attended by other party bigwigs who include Dr Tapiwa Mashakada, who was appointed national treasurer general while Ms Paurina Mpariwa took over from Mr Mwonzora as secretary-general.
Addressing journalists, Mr Mwonzora said the extraordinary congress held at the weekend was in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling that directed that the party convene an extraordinary congress to replace the party’s founding president, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
He condemned the assault of Dr Khupe, saying investigations to identify the culprit were underway.
Zanu pf acting spokesperson, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, yesterday said while they had no business in the way the opposition was run, they were keen to establish Mr Mwonzora’s attitude on sanctions, which have caused untold suffering to ordinary citizens after the MDC-T called for the imposition of the embargo.
Cde Chinamasa said this yesterday at the party headquarters while fielding questions from journalists during a post-Central Committee media briefing.
“We have an opposition that asked for sanctions, an opposition which has been co-habiting with countries that seek to undermine our development trajectory.
“I would want a categoric statement from Mwonzora on sanctions to say he was mistaken and he must apologise to the Zimbabwean people for causing pain, something that has affected our development,” said Cde Chinamasa.
He said they were happy that former acting MDC-T leader Dr Khupe had denounced sanctions during the time she led the opposition outfit.
Asked to comment on the just-ended chaotic MDC-T extraordinary congress, Cde Chinamasa said the opposition had violent tendencies and were fond of refusing to accept defeat as what obtained during their congress.
Mr Mwonzora said he was prepared to work with all political parties to achieve unity of purpose.
“We want to unite this party, we want tolerance, we appeal for patience, we want to rebuild this movement. What we demand from Zanu PF is what they would have demanded from us when we get into power. It is clear that Zimbabwe needs a shared national vision,” said Mr Mwonzora. Following Mr Mwonzora’s ascension, Mr Komichi said he will be working with the new president.
“I have been working behind the scenes to avoid a split. We are putting our interests aside and the party interests ahead. The party is very weak and so I took a position that we cannot afford another split. We are trying to save the party from collapse so we are going to support Douglas Mwonzora. As far as I know everyone supports Mwonzora,” said Mr Komichi.
Meanwhile, Dr Khupe yesterday posted on her Twitter handle that she had tested positive for Covid-19 and gone into self-quarantine.