Harare-MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has suffered another blow after High Court judge Justice Philda Muzofa dismissed an application to stop Treasury from disbursing money under the Political Parties (Finance) Act to a rival faction led by Douglas Mwonzora.
Chamisa has been battling to stop Mwonzora’s MDC-T from accessing funds given to political parties with five or more MPs in Parliament after a Supreme Court ruling delivered in March last year declared that he was not the legitimate leader of the MDC-T.
In passing the ruling, Justice Muzofa said the MDC Alliance, which was the applicant in the matter, had no legal basis to make an application before the courts following a previous court ruling that it was not a political party.
In its application, the MDC Alliance had sought an interim court order to stop the Finance ministry from disbursing $299 970 000 which was allocated to the MDC-T under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
The MDC-T was cited as third respondent. Responding to the application, MDC-T stated that the MDC Alliance had no legal capacity to sue as declared earlier in a judgment passed by High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi in another matter between the two parties.
“By virtue of the judgment already made that the applicant lacks legal capacity, the applicant cannot appear in court and claim that it has legal capacity,” the judge said in her ruling on Tuesday.
“The preliminary point is upheld, there is no applicant before the court. The finding disposes of the matter; it becomes unnecessary to deal with the rest of the preliminary points and the merits of the case. Since any decision is based on preliminary points and not on the merits, the application is struck off with costs,” she added.
In the application, MDC Alliance, represented by Alec Muchadehama of Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni Attorneys, had claimed that it was the rightful beneficiary of the funds since it garnered more votes than Mwonzora’s MDC-T in the 2018 elections.
“An issue was raised that, if the applicant has a constitution, it is not the party that contested in the 2018 harmonised elections,” Justice Muzofa said.
“It cannot, therefore, seek the order sought herein and is out of court. There was no response on this issue from the applicant. I am not inclined to take the failure to respond as an admission. I leave the question open since there was no proper argument on it.”
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, cited as first and second respondents respectively, had not opposed the granting of the interim relief.
The MDC Alliance and MDC-T parties have dragged each other to court in several wrangles which include leadership and control of the party offices following the death of party founder Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018.
The MDC Alliance was formed on August 5, 2017 as a coalition of seven political parties, with the MDC-T and People’s Democratic Party included.
MDC-T under Thokozani Khupe contested the 2018 polls as a separate entity and failed to win an elective seat. It however, got two seats under proportional representation.
On the other hand, the MDC Alliance won 64 seats.
In March 2020, the Supreme Court declared Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC-T illegitimate.
Chamisa has also lost a bid to stop the recall of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors by Mwonzora. Mwonzora also plans to adopt the MDC Alliance moniker for his party to complete the coup de grâce against Chamisa, after taking over party offices and other assets.