Harare-The High Court of Zimbabwe has ruled that the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance is a political entity, adding more fire to the on-going fight for the control of the opposition party.
In a ruling, Justice Munangati Manongwa granted an interim order requested by Chamisa to stop the disbursement of ZWL$7,5 million under the Political Parties Finance Act to the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T.
Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court declared Chamisa’s leadership of the main opposition party illegitimate and ordered Khupe, who leads MDC-T formation to hold an election to choose a new leader within three months.
Armed with the Supreme Court judgment Khupe then moved to take control of the party and recalled four members of the Alliance from parliament citing that they have flouted party rules by associating with another party that they do not belong to.
The judgment acknowledged the MDC Alliance as a political party thereby setting an intriguing battle in similar cases that are before the Zimbabwean courts.
“The applicant herein is a political party with capacity to sue and be sued. The applicant has approached the court on an urgent basis seeking the following relief…,”the ruling read.
“The MDC Alliance, represented by Alec Muchadehama approached the courts to stop government from disbursing $7 492 500 due to the applicant to any party other than the Chamisa-led entity. It is not disputed that the MDC Alliance gained more than 5% of the votes entitling it to benefit from the provisions of the Political Parties Finance Act,” part of the ruling read.
“The entitlement in the aforesaid sum was duly confirmed in a Government Gazette of 28 February 2020. The Ministry of Justice officials assured the MDC Alliance that the monies were to be deposited in the applicant’s account.
“This more than satisfies the requirement of prima facie right. There is proof that the State acknowledges the applicant’s entitlement,” the ruling read.
The ruling further stated that there was evidence that government intended to give the money to another party which was not the MDC Alliance and said there was justification for fears that the finances would end up in the wrong hands.
“When the court considers the evidence placed before it, the conclusion that the applicant (MDC Alliance) has shown a well-grounded apprehension of irreparable harm is inescapable. There is evidence of publications to the effect that there is a likelihood of the applicant’s entitlement being paid to a different entity other than applicant.
“An attempt to seek clarity failed to provide an assurance that the first respondent does not intend to so act. The applicant is thus within its right to fear that it may lose its entitlement to a third party and not be able to retrieve such a considerable sum of money.”
The ruling added: “I reiterate that the applicant does not seek to have funds disbursed to it at this stage, such that there was no need to have even opposed the relief sought as the funds would still remain in the first respondent’s coffers until the court finally decides the dispute.
“Given the aforegoing and conscious of the degree of proof required at this stage, I find that the applicant has satisfied the requirements for granting of an interim interdict. The court in exercising its discretion finds this to be a proper case for the granting of a provisional order,” the judge said before granting the relief sought”
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