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Dubious court rulings won’t force us to unite, says Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC-Alliance

Lisa Duduzile

BULAWAYO – The national youth secretary-general of Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC-Alliance, Lovemore Chinoputsa, who is also the party’s aspiring national youth chairman, Lovemore Chinoputsa, this week scoffed at suggestions that the party’s warring factions were being forced to unite by a recent court judgment on the party’s leadership.

A Zimbabwean High Court judge recently ruled that MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate president of the party, declaring null and void the vice-presidential appointments made by late party leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The court also ordered the party to convene an extraordinary congress within a month.

Officials and supporters of the crisis-torn party have, since that judgment, closed ranks behind their leader, who has been nominated by all provinces to lead the opposition party going to its congress later this month. The court ruling however, automatically renders the May congress a parallel event within the MDC, which should legally be led by constitution be led by its only elected Vice President, Thokozani Khupe, pending an extra-ordinary congress to put in place a new substantive structure.

Khupe was violently ousted by Chamisa and his supporters, who commandeered the party’s national council into declaring 2018 presidential election loser the new party leader.

On the sidelines of the party’s provincial caucus in the second-biggest city of Bulawayo, where contestants vying for posts at the party’s scheduled congress were presenting their manifestos, Chinoputsa said, “We believe engagement is the key to everything and there is still room for engagement, but what we will not accept is to be forced to unite through dubious courts judgment.”

In defiance of the High Court ruling, the MDC-Alliance has continued to carry out its caucus meetings around the provinces, as party fanatics continue to accuse the courts of working under influence from the ruling Zanu (PF). The ruling party has also been accused of trying to force the MDC into becoming one party.

“What is deepening is that MDC has introduced a new culture, a culture of debates, which is basically a cultural revolution within the party, wherein candidates get an opportunity to go and present their manifesto before congress delegates,” said the MDC Alliance secretary-general, Gift Ostalos Siziba.

“Key issues raised in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province during the caucus meeting, which was an exchange of blows particularly within the Youth Assembly, included issues on how people would want to seek a transitional justice on cases of Gukurahundi,” added Siziba.

“The second one was on how best people thought they can resolve cases of devolution, different candidates coming up with different strategies on how to devolve Zimbabwe’s body politics.”

The party then moved to Mash West were candidates presented their manifestos within the Youth Assembly but due to the fatal head-on collision that the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s daughter , Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java was involved in, which claimed two party members just outside the midlands town of Kwekwe Monday night. The party has temporarily suspended its provincial caucus meetings.

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