The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC could be forced to reimburse $1,8 million it received under the Political Parties Finance Act to its rival MDC-T led by Dr Thokozani Khupe after it emerged that the latter is the one that participated in the 2013 election, hence the legitimate recipient of the funds.
Under the Political Parties Finance Act, only serious political parties who would have garnered at least five percent of the total vote in the previous election are legible for 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, 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.
Meanwhile, under unclear circumstances, Mr Chamisa’s MDC had received $1,8 million funding from Government despite the fact that it was no longer part of the MDC-T. The situation was exacerbated by a recent affidavit by acting chairperson of Mr Chamisa’s MDC Mr Morgen Komichi in which he distanced his political outfit from the MDC-T.
Mr Komichi said the MDC-T and the MDC-Alliance were merely a creation of the media and that his group was called “MDC”.
To that end, MDC-T deputy chairperson Mr Obert Gutu told The Herald that his party had since instructed Professor Lovemore Madhuku to sue the MDC over the $1,8 million fraud. Mr Gutu “The $1,8 was disbursed to the MDC-T. This is why we say we are on a very sound legal footing.
“We are the MDC-T and the money was fraudulently disbursed to the Chamisa party. The fraud was perpetrated by a senior official who has since been disciplined over the issue.
“We have since instructed Prof Madhuku to file a claim for the money. We want the money back because we are the legitimate MDC-T according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) records,” said Mr Gutu.
In the answering affidavit by Mr Komichi, filed in a matter in which the MDC was seeking an order barring President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF from luring traditional leaders with gifts and trinkets ahead of the election, the party denied being MDC-T.
“I am not aware of the existence of a political party called MDC-T neither am I aware of a political party called MDC Alliance.
“I will be happy to be furnished with copies of the constitutions of those political parties, albeit in a different forum. “There is only Movement for Democratic Change whose headquarters are situated at Morgan Tsvangirai House (formerly Harvest House) at Number 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare,” he said.
Advocates Lewis Uriri, Takawira Nzombe and Onias Takaendesa represented President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, while being instructed by Mr Aston Musunga of Musunga & Associates in the matter.
The President and Zanu-PF have strongly opposed the application saying there was no proof that they were bribing the traditional leaders as alleged. Justice Mary Dube heard arguments from all the parties before reserving judgment.