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Madhuku: Mwonzora Legitimate MDC-T Leader

MDC-T leaders outside the venue of the party's Extraordinary Congress in Harare on Sunday. (VOA)

A lawyer representing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change says Douglas Mwonzora is the legitimate leader of the MDC-T following a disputed Extraordinary Congress held on Sunday.

In a blistering written legal opinion about the party’s Extraordinary Congress, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, said only a court of law can invalidate Mwonzora’s election.

“As the voting process could not have been stopped by the Actin President (given the conflict of interest) at law, the voting at the Extraordinary Congress on 27 December, 2020, was never stopped …. Because the voting was never stopped at law, the results announced by the independent electoral body are presumed to be valid. They enjoy a presumption of validity. The presumption of validity means that unless set aside by a competent court, Douglas Mwonzora is duly elected president.

“Any candidate in the election or any member of the MDC-T is entitled to approach a competent court to challenge either the validity of the Extraordinary Congress itself or the conduct of the election of the president. The Supreme Court is now out of it because of the presumption of validity I have referred to above. However, until there is an order of court to the contrary, Douglas Mwonzora is the president.”

He said the Extraordinary Congress did not change the previous positions held by members of the Standing Committee. “For example, Dr. Thokozani Khupe has ceased to be acting president and is the deputy president.”

He noted that all party members and government organs should recognize Mwonzora as the duly elected president of the MDC-T.

“The presumption of validity that I have prominently referred to in this opinion does not only bind members of the MDC-T. It also binds organs of state such as parliament and the executive. In the absence of a court order setting aside the election of Douglas Mwonzora as president. Parliament for purposes of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution , has to recognize him a president of the MDC-T party. Similarly, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, for purposes of the Political Parties (Finance) Act, has also to recognize him as president.

Madhuku further described as invalid a National Council meeting held on November 28, which backed Khupe’s move to suspend Mwonzora and declared the Extraordinary Congress as a non-event.

He said the meeting could have been valid if it was chaired by Mwonzora.

“There are two mutually exclusive positions in the MDC-T now namely: (i) the first position that says that Dr. Thokozani Khupe is still the acting president because the Extraordinary Congress of 27 December was cancelled by the acting president, rendering the proceedings thereof null and void and (ii) the second position that follows the view that the Extraordinary Congress of 27 December 2020 took place, that Douglas Mwonzora was duly elected president at that Extraordinary Congress and that unless set aside by a competent court Douglas Mwonzora is the president.

He believed that the better view of the law is that the Extraordinary Congress of 27 December took place ad Mwonzora was elected president.

Madhuku also dismissed Khupe’s move to cancel the congress and suspend Mwonzora saying she participated in the electoral process with three other candidates.

Mwonzora got 883 votes, Khupe 118, Elias Mudzuri 14 and Morgan Komichin 9.

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