HARARE – Two men seeking a court order to nullify the appointment of Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as MDC vice presidents faced a setback yesterday after the party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused the pair of relying on a bogus constitution.
The duo — Patson Murimoga and George Rice — filed a High Court application in July last year challenging the appointments.
In the application, they cited Tsvangirai, Chamisa, Mudzuri, MDC national chairman Lovemore Moyo and the MDC as respondents.
The respondents’ lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, sought the dismissal of the case on the basis that Murimoga and Rice used the wrong MDC constitution, and did not exhaust internal remedies.
“There is a board that deals with disputes in terms of the party constitution. If there is a dispute, it is dealt with in terms of that constitution,” he said.
He also argued that the applicants made reference to the party’s sixth congress, which has not yet happened, making their application improper before the court.
Mpofu also challenged the applicants’ membership, contending they rushed to pay their subscription fees two days after filing the application in a bid to substantiate their application.
They did not have a locus standi to pursue the matter, he said.
However, the applicants’ lawyer, Zivai Macharaga, said his clients had a right to challenge Tsvangirai’s appointments.
“By virtue of being members, they have the right to file this application. There is nowhere where it is shown that their membership has been withdrawn,” Macharaga said.
He said his clients could not have approached the party’s National Council (NC) before going to court because it was the offender and therefore could not have resolved the issue fairly.
High Court judge Lavender Makoni reserved her ruling on the preliminary point raised.
In his affidavit before the court, Murimoga argued that such appointments must be made directly by congress from nominations made by the provinces.
“The NC is not an elective forum in that there are no elections done … particularly of the deputy president while at the congress there are elections done,” he argued.