MDC-T interim President Thokozani Khupe has postponed the extraordinary congress which was scheduled for next month, the party’s spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni has announced, amid indications the special congress could be held by 15th September.
The MDC-T was set to hold its extraordinary congress on 31st July to elect the substantive President following the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018. The Supreme Court ruled on 31st March this year that the manner in which Nelson Chamisa had ascended to the top was against the party’s constitution, hence the need for an extraordinary congress.
Phugeni told the Daily News that the extraordinary congress can no longer be held next month because the lockdown restrictions prohibit a gathering of more than 50 people at any point in time.
“The situation with Covid-19 is very worrying. It should be appreciated that it’s not only Zimbabwe that has come to a standstill, but the whole world,” Phugeni told the publication.
“Whatever we have to do as a party, therefore, has to be within this realization that we are in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
Meanwhile, MDC-T Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora has said postponing the extraordinary congress will not be in violation of the Supreme Court judgment that the special congress be held within 90 days from the date of the ruling.
“When the ruling was handed down, the Chief Justice (Luke Malaba) made a blanket extension of time limits by six weeks.
“The three months deadline was set to expire on 31st July 2020, but there is a six weeks period we were given meaning that the extraordinary congress will have to be held by not later than 15th September.
“We are, therefore, working on a date between now and then,” explained Mwonzora, who is a lawyer.
Mwonzora added that the party expects the Covid-19 restrictions to ease down towards the summer, adding that they will stand guided as well by updates from the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Mwonzora added that among other options, the party could consider decentralizing the extraordinary congress to limit the number of attending guests. He also did not rule out approaching the courts for an extension beyond 15th September, but was quick to say that “is not an option we would like”.