Khupe, two others file urgent court application as Mwonzora begins recalling them

Khupe says Mwonzora intends to "ambush, embarrass and de – humanise" the officials be has targeted for recall, as evidenced by the demand that the two Mayors surrender Council vehicles and property on a Sunday.

by Tulip Charowa

MDC-T deputy President Thokozani Khupe, Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe and Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko have jointly filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court in Bulawayo seeking to bar party leader Douglas Mwonzora from recalling them.

This marks a dramatic turn of fortunes for Khupe, who until recently connived with Mwonzora to recall over a hundred MDC Alliance elected Councillors and MPs for aligning with rival politician Nelson Chamisa.

But Khupe now insists Mwonzora has turned his guns against her and others in the party and is seeking to recall her, allegations Mwonzora has denied.

In the urgent application filed under case number HC1940/21, Khupe, Makombe and Maiko are first, second and third applications respectively.

In their founding affidavits, the three say Mwonzora wants to recall them after a meeting held at the party’s headquarters on 26 November accused them of being sympathetic to rival politician Nelson Chamisa while others have been accused of aligning with Khupe against Mwonzora.

They cite the MDC-T as the first respondent, Mwonzora as second respondent in his personal capacity. Party chairperson Morgen Komichi and party Secretary-General Paurina Mupariwa are third and fourth respondents respectively.

The lawyer representing the three, Gary Sengwemi of Ncube Attorneys in Bulawayo, says the case is urgent because it takes just a letter from Mwonzora for Parliament to consider the three recalled.

The lawyer also reveals that Makombe already received communication from Mupariwa this Sunday that a decision has already been made to recall him as Councillor and Gweru Mayor and that he should “immediately vacate its mayoral residence and surrender its mayoral vehicle”.

Khupe, in her affidavit, says she fears that she will be recalled anytime from now as others whose names were “shouted out” have already started receiving their letters of recall.

She says Mwonzora’s recalls and expulsions of elected officials “have been without due notice, and have not been carried through via due process, in full compliance with the laws of natural justice, and in compliance with constitutional safeguards in promotion of lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair administrative actions”.

She further says Mwonzora intends to “ambush, embarrass and de – humanise” the officials be has targeted for recall, as evidenced by the demand that the two Mayors surrender Council vehicles and property on a Sunday.

In his affidavit, Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko says “the intended recalls or expulsions are manifestly unlawful in that such recalls or expulsions are to be executed without due regard to principles of natural justice and to the constitutional administrative law rights of 1st Respondent’s members so earmarked for recall or expulsion.”

Gweru Mayor Makombe says in his supporting affidavit: “On the 12th of December 2021, I received a call from the 4th Respondent’s office informing me of a letter of my recall which I had to attend to sign. In the same communication I was ordered to surrender the mayoral vehicle and to vacate the mayoral residence.

“This was on a Sunday. The 4th Respondent has violated the basic tenets of natural justice and constitutional administrative law rights of the members concerned with and in the recalls and expulsions, such that the respondent’s resolutions aforesaid are liable to be reviewed and set aside.”

In a previous article, HourlyHits reported that Mwonzora denies turning his guns against Khupe.

The MDC-T dismissed ever plotting to recall Khupe with party’s acting chairman, Giles Mutseyekwa, saying Khupe attended the said meeting and no such discussion ever arose.

“The last national council meeting we had, Khupe was in attendance and she was the first to even contribute as she was saying we should delay holding our congress,” said Mutseyekwa.

“She told us that the party needed more time to prepare for our congress but we felt that we have to do it as a matter of urgency. So, it will be interesting to see the letter in which she alleges these things.”

On its Twitter handle on 26 November, the MDC-T shared photos of the day’s meeting which Khupe attended. In the photos, Khupe is seen seated cordially next to Mwonzora.

Khupe has had a frosty relationship with party leader Douglas Mwonzora since the later trounced her in an extraordinary congress last December.

However, the two connived and recalled dozens of MDC Alliance MPs and Councillors countrywide, angering supporters of the party led by Nelson Chamisa.

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