The battle for the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai brand, now pitting a faction led by Nelson Chamisa and another by Thokozani Khupe, could derail the main opposition’s campaign for the 2018 elections.
The matter is now already before the courts and Khupe, who insists she is the legitimate acting leader of the party, says there is no urgency to hear the case.
The MDC has had two major splits before, one in 2006 and the other in 2014 but both were after national elections rather than weeks before crucial elections.
Chamisa’s faction has taken the Khupe faction to stop it from “unlawfully exploiting and abusing its registered MDC-T trademark, symbols and signs”.
According to the Chronicle, MDC-T acting chairperson Morgen Komichi says: “This is an application for an order interdicting the respondents from unlawfully using the applicant’s name in the pursuit of their political agenda and infringing on registered trademarks. The respondents were dismissed as members and office bearers of the party on 23 March 2018……
“MDC-T is our name and is our own property. We have past experience on this issue, some tried to do it previously and you know what happened. We are going to approach the courts when the right time comes……
“The applicant is the owner of the trademark which the respondents are unlawfully exploiting, including the open palms slogan. The respondents have now started creating their own political structures in the name of the applicant, including making use of the party’s registered trademark and their derivative marks, symbols and colours.”
Khupe argues that she is the acting president of the MDC-T.
“I became acting president of MDC-T by operation of law in terms of Article 9.21.1 of the party constitution upon the untimely death and sad passing on of our party leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai on 14 February 2018. Before I became acting president, I was the deputy president of the party having been elected by the congress in 2006, 2011 and 2014 as provided for in Article 6.44 of the party constitution,” she argues.
She also argued that there was no urgency in hearing the matter.
“The court is urged to take judicial notice of the fact that since 2005, the electorate has lived with MDC and MDC-T and there can be no urgency founded on an alleged need to prevent confusion. At one point we have had an MDC-N, MDC-M and MDC-99. I therefore submit that there is no urgency in this matter,” she argued.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold its elections within the next three months.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa should announce the election dates anytime from the end of this month but three opposition parties have gone to court to bar from doing so.
Two, the Zimbabwe Development Party led by Kisinoti Mukwazhi and the Voice of the People led by Moreprecision Muzadzi, have gone to court to stop Mnangagwa from proclaiming elections until the Political Parties Finance Act is amended to force the government to fund all political parties in the country.
Judgment has been reserved.
Another, the Complete Knockdown of the Establishment which is led by Gastaff Kativu, says Mnangagwa cannot proclaim elections because he has no authority to do so because he came to power through a coup.
It argues that Zimbabwe has no president at the moment.
There are now 118 registered political parties in the country.