Knives out for Chamisa. . . Multi-million dollar lawsuits loom
Daniel Nemukuyu in Harare and Esinathy Sibanda in Bulawayo
THE MDC-T led by Dr Thokozani Khupe says it will soon take MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa to court claiming $1,8 million he received under the Political Parties Finance Act for the 2018 campaign.
Dr Khupe’s party claims it is the legitimate MDC-T and that Mr Chamisa illegitimately received the funds because he contested the poll using a different name.
Under the Political Parties Finance Act, only serious political parties who would have garnered at least five percent of the total vote were eligible for the funding.
MDC-T, which was led by Mr Tsvangirai, in terms of the Act, is the one entitled to the funding.
However, after the demise of the former party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in February, a leadership wrangle ensued between Mr Chamisa and Dr Khupe.
Ultimately, Dr Khupe registered to contest in this year’s election under MDC-T while Mr Chamisa chickened out and opted to participate as leader of the MDC Alliance.
Under unclear circumstances, Mr Chamisa’s MDC received $1,8 million funding from Government despite the fact that it was no longer part of the MDC-T.
In an interview, MDC-T deputy president Mr Obert Gutu told our Harare Bureau that his party had since instructed Professor Lovemore Madhuku to sue the MDC over the $1,8 million fraud.
“We have since instructed our lawyer Professor Madhuku to file a claim for the $1,8 million.
“The money was wrongly disbursed to Mr Chamisa’s MDC when it was meant for the MDC-T which participated in the 2013 election.
“I am yet to meet Prof Madhuku and we map the way forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF lawyers said they also intend to sue Mr Chamisa’s party over legal costs in the hyped presidential petition which was dismissed by the Constitutional Court on Friday with costs.
Mr Chamisa sought to overturn President-elect Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa’s July 30 election victory, but the ConCourt unanimously dismissed his challenge.
Speaking to our Harare Bureau on Saturday, Zanu-PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Paul Mangwana said the ruling party’s lawyers were quantifying the exact amount due to them, but they had indicated an approximate bill of $3 million.
That figure excludes the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s legal bill.
Cde Mangwana said the final bill required approval of the Registrar of the Court.
He said in the event Mr Chamisa failed to pay, the opposition leader risked losing his personal property.
Meanwhile, the cash-strapped opposition MDC Alliance has once again sent begging bowls to raise $3 million to foot the legal costs for their Constitutional Court electoral petition and is seeking more money to fund its case at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
The judgement handed by the Constitutional Court carried a punitive condition requiring Mr Chamisa to pay the legal costs of everyone involved.
In bid to raise this money, the party launched an ‘I donate to protect our vote’ campaign on the Gofundme website on Sunday, appealing to both Diaspora and local supporters to donate for a “good cause.”
The Alliance, which has hit hard times, survived the election period from hand-outs from well-wishers who funded its campaign.
The MDC’s situation has been worsened by donor fatigue and a series of blunders over the years, its poor performance in the inclusive government that ran between 2009 and 2013 key among them.
In a Facebook post, MDC National Deputy Treasurer Mr Chalton Hwende said people can send their donations via EcoCash or make their donations online at gofundme.com <http://gofundme.com>.
He has also appealed to well wishers across the world to support it with the costs of suit at the Constitutional Court and African Union appeal, whose bill is not yet known.
MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has taken his fight to overturn President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent electoral victory to the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights following the dismissal of his petition last Friday.
After the declaration of Cde Mnangagwa’s victory by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on August 3, Mr Chamisa filed a ConCourt application challenging the victory, arguing that the whole electoral process had been marred by irregularities and massive poll fraud.
But his petition was dismissed with costs by the full bench of the ConCourt led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba on grounds that he failed to provide sufficient primary evidence to prove the alleged irregularities.
But in a statement that goes against the $3 million appeal, the Alliance has said the estimated figure is too high and the legal costs “can’t exceed $20 000”.
“The costs are taxed and allowed by the Registrar of the court, taking into account the exact hours spent. It can’t even go up to $20 000. Besides, the costs awarded are not on a higher scale. It’s just costs on an ordinary scale. People like Paul Mangwana must stop inciting our people,” said Mr Hwende on social media.
The MDC Alliance said they will meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to plot a way forward. The party has rejected the call by President Mnangagwa to put differences aside and move forward together as a nation.