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Zimbabwe Supreme Court Declares Nelson Chamisa Illegitimate MDC Leader

Khuphe Tsvangirai Chamisa
Khuphe Tsvangirai Chamisa

Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has ruled that Nelson Chamisa is not the legitimate leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, which was led by founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of colon cancer in 2018.

Professor Lovemore Madhuku, an attorney representing Thokozani Khupe who claims to be the legitimate leader of the MDC-T, welcomed the Supreme Court decision.

But MDC secretary general, Chalton Hwende, said the ruling won’t change anything “because Chamisa was elected by the people of Zimbabwe.”

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 has fought all the way to the Supreme Court where she wanted current structures of the MDC to be dismantled and assembled as per their formation in 2018 when Tsvangirai died.

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.