Political party problems not settled in court: Biti

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MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti

Biti says courts must not involve themselves in politics

MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti on Friday urged courts not to meddle in political party matters following the High Court and Supreme Court’s recent judgments on the opposition’s leadership wrangle.

Biti expressed concern over what he said was government’s attempt to take over the running of the opposition party.

In an interview with Zim Morning Post on Friday Biti said political party issues should not be settled in courts.

The Supreme Court ruled that the MDC party revert back to former vice president Thokozani Khupe’s oversight, pulling the rug under the feet off MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.

Biti spoke of how the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) had told him in 2015 that political parties should resolve their internal disputes out of court when he was representing Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.

Political issues are not determined in courts of law. I was the lawyer who represented Kudakwashe Bhaskiti when he was expelled from Zanu PF in early 2015,” Biti said.

“On behalf of Bhaskiti, l went from the High Court all the way to the ConCourt arguing that Bhaskiti had been expelled without due process and a disciplinary hearing. The ConCourt told me that I had a duty and obligation to exhaust domestic remedies and ‘resolve your problems within the party,” Biti said.

He added that no one was paying attention to the courts of law, adding that political parties were voluntary associations.

Biti added that political parties’ right to exist was protected by the right of Freedom of Association (Codified in section 58) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe have been at loggerheads with regards to who was the rightful candidate to succeed the Morgan Tsvangirai following his death in 2018

Khupe claimed she was the legitimate leader of MDC, arguing that the party should revert to its 2014 constitution.

A Gokwe man from MDC-T successfully argued in the High Court that the 2014 MDC structures should be invoked, leading to Chamisa’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld the High Court ruling against Chamisa, declaring his leadership of the MDC party illegitimate.

The Supreme Court then ordered the MDC to hold an election to determine who leads the party within three months.

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