MDC members launch fresh bid against leader

Members of Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Wednesday they will launch a fresh bid to win legal backing for their decision to suspend party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

High Court Judge Yunus Omerjee on Friday dismissed an application by

MDC deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire, who asked him to enforce a decision taken three weeks ago by a party disciplinary committee to suspend Tsvangirai.

“We will appeal against the court ruling or resubmit the application,” the MDC’s vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, told journalists after a meeting of the party’s national council.

“The judge ruled on technical issues such as Mr Chimanikire’s legal standing in the matter. He (Omerjee) did not look at the substance of the court application.”

The meeting scoffed at a suspension by a faction of six top party officials two weeks ago on charges of abandoning their official party while leading a clique opposed to Tsvangirai’s leadership.

“The entity that seeks to carry out the suspensions is unconstitutional,” Sibanda said of the committee that suspended him and five other party officials, including secretary general Welshman Ncube and treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube. “The said officers should not cooperate with or appear before the bogus disciplinary committee.”

Sibanda accused Tsvangirai of hiring thugs to bar members of his faction from entering the party’s headquarters in Harare.

Once a major political force challenging President Robert Mugabe’s grip on power, the MDC has been bogged down in infighting over Tsvangirai’s decision to call a boycott of the November 26 Senate elections.

Tsvangirai maintained that the elections were a waste of money at a time when the country was facing severe food shortages, but his opponents within the MDC contended that voters should be given a choice at the ballot box.

Tsvangirai had dismissed the suspension as unlawful and defied the committee’s ban on holding rallies, making public statements, visiting party offices or using party property.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF won 43 of the 50 contested Senate seats, while the MDC picked up seven seats in the elections that were marred by poor turnout. — Sapa-AFP