Some members of the Movement for Democratic Change, which held what has been described by most party activists as a chaotic and violent event, have resolved to dismiss the outcome of the MDC-T presidential election won by Douglas Mwonzora.
The National Council has declared the Extraordinary Congress held in Harare on Sunday as null and void, noting that it fell far below all standards prescribed in the MDC-T constitution.
In a statement, MDC-T acting spokesperson, Khaliphani Pugeni indicated Thokozani Khupe is expected to take the matter to court.
“The National Council met yesterday virtually as it has been doing in the past following what I have seen most of you (journalists) describing as chaotic and violent EOC. I must say as I was coming here I got a call from Professor (Lovemore) Madhuku who is our lead legal counsel and he said to me he has spoken to madam president (Khupe) and there is an agreement that there is a legal opinion coming today from the legal team headed by Professor Madhuku, which legal opinion will guide leadership going forward with regards to the EOC and also most of the things that emanated from that National Council yesterday.”
Pugeni said the National Council condemns the “ill-discipline exhibited by some members of the party and is calling all to moderate behavior which is in conformity with the founding values and principles of the party. The National Council notes with disdain the deviant behavior of some of our top leadership in the run up and during the Extraordinary Congress. It condemns with contempt the type of behavior aforesaid of sabotaging the party through creation of a fraudulent voters’ roll, embezzlement of party funds as well as organizing and coordinating violence targeted at other candidates in the EOC.”
The MDC-T claims that Mwonzora withdrew nearly ZWL$10 million from the party’s bank account ahead of the Congress.
Pugeni further said, “The National Council endorses and upholds the move made by the acting president (Khupe) to suspend the EOC since it became clear with the violence that was there, the manipulation of the voters’ roll that it was not possible to hold a free and fair process which was envisaged by the court when it ordered that EOC. The National Council appreciates that whereas the party was ordered to hold an EOC it was not a gathering of people just to vote.
“An EOC is properly prescribed in our constitution and has set standards that are supposed to be met and that day it really, really fell short of the said standards. The National Council also denounces the EOC resolutions circulating on social media and accordingly dismisses them as null and void. Much of this is subject to legal advice which the top legal advisor is going to bring to us.”
Pugeni acknowledged that some members of the National Council did not attend the meeting held virtually on Monday.
“The Standing Committee has not met yet. It’s some members of the National Council who met. I must admit it’s not all of them as I have already said there is a dispute, which dispute I’m sure that the leadership is equal to it and they better be equal to it because if they are not equal to it you then we are doomed … We are doomed in this country.”
He claimed that Khupe was still in control of the party.
“Dr. Khupe is still in control of the party but I think there is no dispute that there is a dispute. Fortunate enough you were all there, you saw what happened … Indeed there is a dispute and it is that dispute which our top lawyer said he is writing an opinion by today which will guide all leadership with regards to these things.”
The Supreme Court ordered the MDC-T to hold the Extraordinary Congress before the end of the year. Indications are that it won’t hold another EOC before the end of 2020.
“The truth of the matter is that when the Supreme Court ordered an EOC which is an Extraordinary Congress, it ordered an Extraordinary Congress in line with our constitution. That’s very, very critical … I’m sure that the courts also saw that (chaotic, violent EOC). I think the party attempted to hold an EOC in fulfillment of the Supreme Court judgment but everyone agrees with what we saw … That it was impossible to have an outcome which rises to the level of free and fair.”
Mwonzora says he is the new president of the MDC-T following the holding of the EOC on Sunday.
His spokesperson, Witness Dube, said, “Dr. Thokozani Khupe is not an ordinary member of the MDC as she has naturally reverted to her old position of vice president and president Mwonzora believes that as emotions cool down, her recent contentious exploits will give way to the new reality that was prescribed by 86 percent of the delegates who attended our EOC.”
Observers say the party may split once again if the conflict over the EOC is not resolved immediately.