THE battle for control of the MDC yesterday took a new twist at the Supreme Court with former deputy president of the party, Thokozani Khupe challenging party leader, Nelson Chamisa in his appeal against a High Court judgment which nullified his presidency in May this year.
The move by Khupe came after Chamisa’s lawyer advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was assisted by advocate Sylvester Hashiti, told Justices Paddington Garwe, Antoinette Guvava and Bharat Patel that Chamisa had decided to withdraw his appeal against Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Douglas Mwonzora and also tendered to pay the wasted costs.
While Mudzuri and Mwonzora consented to the withdrawal of the appeal against them, and Elias Mashavira — who successfully challenged Chamisa’s appointment — also had no issues with the withdrawal, Khupe, through her lawyer Lovemore Madhuku declined the withdrawal.
Mashavira’s lawyer Ashell Mutungura, who was assisted by Sarudzai Chatsanga, told the court that his client had no issues with the withdrawal of the appeal against Mwonzora, Khupe and Mudzuri.
Khupe has, however, insisted that she intends to be part to the proceedings and defend the High Court judgment which was delivered in favour of MDC’s Gokwe Sesame district secretary, Mashavira.
In his submissions, Mpofu said it was baffling to note that Khupe had not been a part to the proceedings in the High Court and further that no judgment was passed in her favour, yet she was now insisting to be part of the proceedings in the Supreme Court.
“The third respondent (Khupe) takes nothing out of these proceedings and she cannot obtain a judgment in her favour. She did not obtain a judgment in the High Court and she can ask no judgment from this court,” Mpofu said.
He added that although Khupe did not appear in the High Court she was now the one leading the charge in opposing Chamisa’s request for access to the late party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai’s affidavit and the MDC’s original constitution.
In his address to the bench, Madhuku said Khupe had an interest in the current court proceedings arguing that the law says once the matter has been set down for hearing the applicant no longer enjoys the liberty to simply withdraw the same.
“Third respondent has an interest in these proceedings and she is prepared to defend the judgment of the High Court,” Madhuku said insisting that his client does not accept the withdrawal of the appeal against her.
As the matter continued Mpofu also indicated that his client was not happy with the copy of the party constitution which the Registrar of the High Court had obtained from another court record allegedly filed by Tsvangirai when he was defending his party’s constitution.
The challenge by Mpofu then prompted the Supreme Court to roll the matter over to today in order to allow all the parties to have access to the original court record and verify if the copy of the Constitution availed to the parties was the same with the one allegedly filed by Tsvangirai.
Chamisa’s appeal to the Supreme Court followed Justice Edith Mushore’s ruling in favour of Mashavira after he sought a declaration that Chamisa and Mudzuri’s appointments as MDC deputy presidents by Tsvangirai was unconstitutional.