Zimbabwe: High Court Reserves Judgment On MDC-A Challenge to Stop MPs' Recall

The High Court Wednesday reserved judgment in an urgent chamber application filed by the MDC Alliance seeking to bar recently reinstated secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora from recalling its legislators from Parliament.

The matter was heard before Justice Tawanda Chitapi who announced ruling will be delivered on May 29 2020.

The Thokozani Khupe-led MDC faction represented by Lovemore Madhuku argued in court that the MDC-A's application lacked merit for it to be treated as urgent.

"For a matter to be deemed urgent, there must be imminent issues warranting its arrival in court and at the time it arrives it must meet such a quality that it cannot wait," he said.

"There must also be a cause of action, harm which has occurred or is likely to occur. In this regard, what is it which has caused the applicants to come to court?" asked Madhuku.

He also dismissed an affidavit submitted by the MDC-A as baseless as it relied only on media reports hinting there were plans to recall all MDC-A MPs.

"What is surprising in this regard is that there is no substantial evidence to prove the point except only one article, which was attached as evidence. Surely, if all threats based on the media were to be taken seriously to the extent of justifying legal action, the courts would be overwhelmed by such unnecessary cases," he said.

Madhuku told the court a political party had no legal interest to speak on behalf of MPs as they are sworn into office on the strength of the country's Constitution and pledged allegiance to the people as opposed to political parties.

He went on to dismiss the application for lacking merit as the applicants ignored the existence of a recent Supreme Court judgment which assigned Khupe to take over leadership of the MDC-T as acting president pending the holding of an extraordinary congress.

"Ignoring this creates the risk of turning this case into a review of the Supreme Court ruling. Both the interim and final relief sought are incompetent. Furthermore, this matter can only be dealt with at the Constitutional Court because the High Court has no authority to interfere with Parliament's business," Madhuku said.

However, in mitigation, lawyer Alec Muchadehama assisted by MDC-A vice president, Tendai Biti argued the matter remained urgent because four MPs from the party had since been recalled.

"So the application is not being made against the background of empty threats as alluded to by respondents. We, therefore, relate to such fears and we cannot wait until another recall," he said.

Two weeks ago, MDC-A secretary general Charlton Hwende and three other MPs, Thabitha Khumalo, Lilian Timveous and Prosper Mutseyami were expelled from Parliament by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on the advice of Mwonzora.

Mwonzora said the four MPs had ceased to be members of the MDC-T.

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