THE MDC-T leadership was yesterday forced to cancel a scheduled Press briefing at the party headquarters after the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance challenged a court order granting interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora repossession of Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) House.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA/MOSES MATENGA/DESMOND CHINGARANDE
MDC-T youths on Sunday took possession of the building demanding dialogue from the warring factions to iron out their differences, which are threatening the country’s main opposition party.
The building has since June been under the control of MDC-T interim leader Thokozani Khupe, who was reinstated as party interim leader by a Supreme Court ruling in March in the party’s succession wars.
Her faction took over the building with the assistance of heavily armed police and the army.
But there have been allegations in the Khupe camp that Mwonzora had personalised the processes, shutting out senior members in his faction.
Mwonzora on Monday said the MDC-T would repossess the building that same day from the youths led by Paul Gorekore, the MDC-T chief security officer and Harare provincial youth chairperson.
He secured a spoliation order to have the youths evicted, citing MDC Alliance, Chamisa, Gorekore, Happymore Chidziva, Denford Ngadziore and Police Officer Commanding Harare province as respondents in his application.
Mwonzora was yesterday supposed to address a Press conference at the MRT House in the company of acting party national chairman Morgen Komichi and interim spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni.
But after Chamisa challenged the spoliation order, only Phugeni showed up and was advised against getting inside the building by his aides and called Mwonzora, who advised him against entry as he felt that would invalidate his claim to the court that he had been evicted from the building.
It also emerged that Khupe was one of the leaders who were supposed to attend the Press conference, but was in no show.
Phugeni decided against getting inside the MRT House despite being granted access and assured of his safety by Gorekore and the party organising secretary, Abedinigo Bhebhe.
“I was ready to go into Harvest House, I had been assured of my safety and had spoken to Bhebhe and Gorekore, but the secretary-general told me he would address the Press and my security also said I should not get in,” he said.
Insiders said had Phugeni addressed the Press conference from inside Harvest House, then the court application by Mwonzora would have fallen flat on its face.
“We had prepared everything for our leaders to come in and they refused. Not that we were up to something or we were rude or anything,” Gorekore said.
“We have our genuine issues as youths because we are seeing our leaders are now enjoying power and money over the people’s interests.
He added: “We are not rude, but we have a clear position that our leaders should sit down. We don’t want people to suffer anymore. We are faced with by-elections and we can’t allow divisions that benefit Zanu PF. As Harare province, we suffered many recalls and now we want our leaders to act.
There have been counter-allegations within the party, with Mwonzora and Khupe accused of working with Zanu PF and President Emmerson Mnangagwa to decimate Chamisa, who came close to edging the Zanu PF leader in the July 2018 polls.
Mwonzora has hit back, saying it was Chamisa who was working with Zanu PF, especially G40 elements in the fold of Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, allegations the MDC Alliance leader has also denied.
Gorekore said the youths were aware of the mistakes made in the past, but now wanted the MDC leaders to find each other and use party organs to ensure the Supreme Court judgment was implemented.
“We want the national executive of 2014 to meet, then the national council who are constitutionally empowered to enforce the Supreme Court order so that the party moves on,” he said.
“We know everyone who was in the national executive and national council and those will be allowed access and free movement in this building because it belongs to the party and not an individual.”
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance, in its challenge to Mwonzora’s spoliation order, said the court grossly erred because it granted the order without affording the respondents an opportunity to be heard, thus depriving them of the right to be heard.
“The court grossly erred in granting an order ex-parte on the motion of one party to the dispute and based on material non-disclosure and effectively aided stealth, dishonest and criminal conduct by the respondents,” the MDC Alliance said
“The court erred and misdirected itself in granting a spoliation order when the requirements of such relief had not been met, particularly that the respondents were not in peaceful and undisturbed possession of number 44 Nelson Mandela Ave, otherwise known as Morgan Tsvangirai House.”
The MDC Alliance is seeking a relief order that the appeal succeed with costs and that the spoliation order be set aside.
MDC-T secretary for presidential affairs Jameson Timba said: “The filing of the notice of appeal suspends the order. What it means is that those who are in MRT house stay in there and those like him who are outside it stay where they are.”