THE Supreme Court has upheld position by MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe who argued she had the right to challenge former party rival, Nelson Chamisa’s appeal.
Chamisa suffered a blow in May this year when the High Court ruled that he was not the legitimate leader of the main opposition.
This followed the death of founding party President Morgan Tsvangirai February last year.
Gokwe based party activist Elias Mashavira had lodged a challenge at the High Court against Chamisa’s legitimacy.
Aggrieved by the outcome, Chamisa and his then deputy, Morgen Komichi appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court, citing Mashavira, Elias Mudzuri and Khupe as respondents.
In a twist of events, Chamisa, through his lawyer, Thabani Mpofu on Thursday made an application for withdrawal of their appeal against all respondents except, Mashavira arguing that the activist was the only interested respondent.
Chamisa said Khupe was not the one who made the legitimacy challenge although she was recognised as the legitimate leader by the High Court.
However, Kupe, through her own lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, challenged the application for withdrawal saying she had interests in the case as her name was involved, an argument which the Supreme Court bench chaired by Justice Paddington Garwe, upheld.
“Having carefully considered submissions by all parties we are of the view that the application for leave to withdraw by the applicants (Chamisa) lacks merit.
“It has been very clear from the onset that Khupe had direct interest in this case,” ruled Justice Garwe.
The Supreme Court granted withdrawal of the appeal against Mwonzora and Mudzuri with Chamisa bearing the costs.
The case will continue next Wednesday with Khupe and Mashavira challenging the appeal.
Advocate Slyvester Hashiti was standing in for Mpofu.
When the case was heard on Thursday, Mudzuri’s lawyer Rinouya Zimudzi did not oppose the withdrawal.
Mwonzora, who was represented by Jon-Nomatter Kadoko, also accepted saying he sought nothing substantive in the matter.
Khupe has remained adamant.
“She has an interest in the matter which entitles her to be part of these proceedings, participate and defend the judgement of the court aquo,” said Madhuku while challenging the withdrawal.
Madhuku argued it was not a unilateral decision to take considering that the case was already set down.
“Once a matter is set down, the respondent is entitled to a judgment.
“Even though she did not participate in the court aquo, she is entitled to participate in this court.”
Supreme Court judge, Bharat Patel had reminded the applicants that the High Court outcome was in Khupe’s favour.
Patel said Khupe’s position was mentioned.
“She was duly elected deputy president and duly acting president,” said Patel.
Mpofu however said Khupe’s thinking regarding the case was not known.
“It is not known whether she liked what happened or not. She did not place her position before the court,” he said.
Mpofu also said withdrawal was necessary considering that their application to have the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s affidavit included in their appeal was still pending.
He added that an application for rectification of the appeal record is still pending before the High Court.
In the pending High Court application, Chamisa claimed that it was possible for Tsvangirai to handpick his deputies of choice outside the party’s congress.
But his lawyer forgot to include the crucial affidavit when the Supreme Court appeal was filed following a ruling in favour of Khupe early this year.
Garwe and Patel were sitting with Justice Antonia Guvava.
In May this year, the High Court ruled that Chamisa was illegitimately acting as the MDC leader since he was appointed outside party’s elective congress.
The judge said Khupe is the legitimate leader considering that she was appointed in accordance to the party’s laws. – Newzim