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Zimbabwe High Court Blocks Disbursement of $7 Million to Thokozani Khupe MDC Formation

A collage of the MDC-T, Thokozani Khupe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa.
A collage of the MDC-T, Thokozani Khupe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa has obtained a provisional court order barring the Zimbabwean government from disbursing over Z$7 million to an opposition party led by Thokozani Khupe fighting over the control of the MDC once led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

In the provisional order, High Court judge Justice Munangati Manongwa said the respondents - Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda – have 10 days to respond to this ruling.

In the interim order, Justice Manongwa said, “The 1st and 2nd respondents be and are hereby interdicted, stopped and barred from disbursing the sum of $7,492.500 due to the applicant in terms of the Political Parties (Finance) Act Chapter 2:11 in the sum of $7,492,500.”

The MDC-T recently recalled from parliament four MDC Alliance lawmakers saying the party was following a Supreme Court ruling, which declared Nelson Chamisa an illegitimate leader of the MDC. In turn, Chamisa’s party also said the chief architects of the recall, Douglas Mwonzora and Morgen Komichi, had expelled themselves from the opposition.

Chamisa’s party argues that its lawmakers were elected under the banner of the MDC Alliance, a group of opposition parties that contested the 2018 general elections. Chamisa’s MDC formation also says it won’t be part of the Supreme Court’s ruling to revert to old structures and hold an extraordinary congress to replace the late Tsvangirai.

In a tweet, the party said, “The MDC Alliance does not recognize the attempt to hold an extra-ordinary congress organized by Zanu PF in the name of our party. We condemn Zanu PF's efforts to impose its proxies as our leadership. Our 2019 Congress was validly held and the resolutions made stand.”

Zanu PF has dismissed suggestions that it influenced the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling.

The opposition party has also suspended its participation in the House of Assembly and Senate.

The Supreme Court in March this year ruled that Chamisa is not the legitimate leader of the MDC. The High Court last May declared Chamisa an illegitimate leader of the MDC and ordered the party to choose a new president after a month.

The MDC filed an appeal against the order saying Chamisa was the rightful leader of the party following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai.

Chamisa’s rise to the helm of the party led to serious internal rifts between members of the party, resulting in Khupe leading a faction known as the MDC-T and Chamisa reverting to the old MDC formation. Chamisa brought in several MDC parties back to the main party, forming what they named the MDC Alliance.

An MDC extraordinary congress reaffirmed Chamisa’s leadership of the party but Khupe fought all the way to the Supreme Court where she wanted current structures of the MDC to be dismantled.

In the 2019 High Court ruling, Judge Edith Mushore declared Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC “unconstitutional and therefore null and void.”

The MDC claimed at that time that the ruling was part of a big plot by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s governing ruling Zanu PF party to destabilize it.

Chamisa contested the disputed 2018 presidential election won by Mnangagwa. He still maintains that he won the poll though the matter was taken to the Electoral Court. which declared Mnangagwa the winner of the election.