Zimbabwe’s High Court declared Nelson Chamisa an illegitimate leader of main opposition MDC party and ordered the movement to convene an extraordinary congress to choose a new leader.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it would appeal the ruling and would press on with a planned leadership congress this month where it is expected to elect Chamisa as a permanent successor to founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in February 2018.
Chamisa (41) became MDC interim leader last year amid internal opposition, which split the party. He lost a presidential election to the ruling ZANU-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, but says the poll was rigged.
High Court Judge Edith Mushore ruled the process that took Chamisa to the helm of the MDC was unconstitutional and thus null and void. The ruling followed a legal challenge from a party member to Chamisa’s leadership.
The MDC said the ruling was part of a wider plot by Mnangagwa’s ruling party to destabilise the main opposition.
“We fundamentally disagree with the judgement. We reiterate Emmerson Mnangagwa is illegitimate and no amount of diversionary tactics will change this,” MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume told reporters.
Chamisa was nominated for presidency of the MDC by party provincial assemblies and will be endorsed during a congress from May 24-26 in Gweru.
In February, Chamisa and his MDC snubbed talks with Mnangagwa to resolve a political and economic crisis, saying any dialogue with the president has to be brokered by an independent outside mediator.