Chamisa challenges Khupe verdict
Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
MDC-T’s controversially appointed president Mr Nelson Chamisa, who last week cast aspersions on the Judiciary, is now contesting a High Court verdict allowing his rival Dr Thokozani Khupe to use the party name and symbols.
Mr Chamisa and Dr Khupe are locked in an acrimonious power struggle sparked by the death of founding party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year.
The Chamisa camp yesterday filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the High Court decision refusing to bar Dr Khupe’s formation to use the same party name, trademark, signs and symbols.
The High Court in Bulawayo last week ruled that an urgent application that was filed by the Chamisa faction was not urgent.
Justice Francis Bere, who presided over the matter, also ruled that nothing could stop Dr Khupe from operating her formation under the party’s name.
The Chamisa-led MDC-T faction, which has hired Advocate Thabani Mpofu to argue the appeal, now wants the superior court to set aside the High Court decision.
It also wants the dispute heard afresh before a different judge.
In its grounds of appeal filed at the Supreme Court yesterday, the Chamisa camp is arguing that the lower court erred in making pronouncements on substantive issues not before it and on which the parties had advanced no argument.
“The court erred in coming to the conclusion that the appellant had not instituted the proceedings before it and so erred in making that determination without having any regard to appellant’s constitutive documents and or operational statutes,” said Adv Mpofu.
He said the lower court misdirected itself in ruling that the matter before it was not urgent, saying this amounted to an error in law.
The court, he said, erred in failing to consider the applicable principle of time and consequence, the application of which entitled the Chamisa-led party to the indulgence of an expedited hearing.
“Having made its findings on the matter, albeit incorrectly, the court aquo erred in dismissing the cause, which cause could not in terms of its own reasoning be dismissed, but had to be resolved in fully contested adversarial proceedings,” said Adv Mpofu.
“The court aquo erred in upholding in its sentence all the points taken in limine, including those points it had found in the body of the judgment to have lacked any merit and or cogency.”
Last week, Justice Bere dismissed the application by the Chamisa-led MDC-T faction in the fight over the ownership of the party name.
He noted that there was a constitutional crisis in the MDC-T that should be urgently resolved first to determine the legitimacy to one of the competing parties to the leadership of the party, but declared that “there is absolutely no urgency in the matter” and that “the application will not go beyond the preliminary points.”