Court orders Khupe's eviction

BULAWAYO - MDC leader Nelson Chamisa scored a major court victory against his nemesis, Thokozani Khupe, after the High Court ordered her eviction from the party's provincial headquarters yesterday.

Khupe had seized the offices, claiming she was the legitimate MDC leader, following last month’s demise of founding party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, after a long battle with colon cancer.

Chamisa’s executive, through MDC Bulawayo provincial chair Gift Banda, were forced to file an urgent High Court chamber application earlier this week, seeking to be granted exclusive access into the offices.

In his ruling, Justice Maxwell Yakima ordered Khupe to vacate the party’s Stand 41A, Fort Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue, and surrender the same to Banda.

In granting the writ of mandamus (spoliation order), Yakima ruled that Banda was the “highest ranking official” in the province with full loci standi in judicio to sue for recovery of the premises.

He also ruled that the Bulawayo provincial chair had “been in peaceful and undisturbed possession and occupation of the MDC-T Bulawayo Provincial offices.”

Banda told a news conference at the Bulawayo Press club yesterday that they welcomed the ruling.

“This morning, we won at the High Court control of the offices of the party because we are not a violent party as is perceived out there. We act within the confines of the law, that’s why we didn’t want to take the law into our own hands; that’s why we approached the courts for a determination, and we are happy the courts have given us a determination and starting this afternoon, we are going to go in and occupy our office and do the business of the party without any undue disturbances,” Banda said.

Efforts to get a reaction from Khupe were futile.

Banda, through his lawyers Mathonsi, Ncube Law Chambers, had approached the court seeking an order barring Khupe and her allies from disrupting and interfering with party business at the provincial offices.

“I submit that this matter is urgent because as a province we have nowhere else to operate from as all lawful structures of the party under my control and supervision have been excluded from accessing the offices at a critical time when we are processing candidate selection and preparing for crucial elections,” Banda said in his founding affidavit.

Khupe, her personal assistant, the party’s national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe and close allies Artwell Sibanda, Gershom Zimba, Samson Mubhemi, Elliot Doctor Moyo, Mthokozisi Ncube and Mbuso Sibanda, were cited as respondents.

“I seek this honourable court’s protection and intervention on an urgent basis from the unlawful actions of the respondents in despoiling me of control and occupation of our provincial offices,” Banda said in the court papers.

“The practice is that any organ of Bulawayo province intending to use the party offices is required to seek my authority. I, as a matter of fact, grant such authority for all legitimate and lawful activities for the province.”

Reacting to the High Court ruling yesterday, Banda said they were “100 percent behind acting president advocate Nelson Chamisa in line with the party’s national council resolution that he takes over the reins following the untimely passing of the late president ...Tsvangirai.”

“As such, we do not recognise any other person as first in command in the MDC.

“We have been made aware of vice president Khupe’s plans to hold a meeting in Bulawayo tomorrow. We want to make it categorically clear that as a province we are not part of this meeting, we did not sanction it and that as far as we are concerned it is an illegal meeting, totally outside anybody or structure of the MDC.

“We therefore advise party members and the general public not to attend this bogus event which has not been sanctioned by the authentic provincial executive,” Banda said.

He warned Khupe against holding the meeting saying it was illegal.

“As MDC Bulawayo province, we are aware that some dubious political parties that have graciously rented their members to vice president Khupe for tomorrow’s event on some puerile and misguided tribal solidarity agenda.

“We are also aware of plans to use these members to incite violence with the prime intention of making it look like it emanated from our members in order to try and paint us as a violent party.

“We know all about the MDC-T-shirts vice president Khupe is giving to these hooligans for tomorrow’s event in order to carry out the deception. These primitive, thuggish tendencies have no place in a democracy and are alien to the MDC,” he said.

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