Dear Senator Mwonzora,
They say first impressions last longer, and watching your Press Conference yesterday, I thought it was a really terrible performance, given that everything that has happened to the MDC post-Dr. Tsvangirai’s death was caused by disagreement on the constitutional process.
To begin with, the Constitution requires that the business of a Congress that is inquorate is of no effect until it is approved by the National Council. According to standard English, an inquorate meeting is unable to proceed effectively because there are not enough members present to proceed effectively. The keyword there is effectively, and that is why section 6.2.7 of the MDC 2014 Constitution says the outcome of an inquorate Congress can only be approved by an Extra-Ordinary Congress called by the National Council within six months of the date of the inquorate Congress. Effectively this means that you can only effectively assume the Party Presidency after that National Council meeting is held. So, going by the MDC 2014 Constitution, as the vacancy of the Presidency has not yet been confirmed, the 2014 Vice President of the Party, Dr. Thokozani Khupe, should proceed as Acting President until such a time that your presidency is accepted by an Extra-Ordinary Congress, provided that next Extra-Ordinary Congress is quorate.
Besides your Presidency not being effective yet, you go on to announce the appointment of two Vice Presidents. Correct me if I am wrong, but my recollection is that the Supreme Court nullified the appointments of Advocate Chamisa and Senator Mudzuri and the Deputy-Presidents using the same constitution as the s in Deputy-Presidents in Section 220.127.116.11 of the constitutions was considered to have been a typo error. In any case, even if the s on Deputy-Presidents was not a typo error and the constitution really allowed for more than one Deputy-President, those officials listed in Section 18.104.22.168 are officers of Congress, that is, officeholders who are supposed to be elected at Congress. According to the 2014 Constitution, the President, Deputy-President(s), National Chairperson, Deputy National Chairperson, Secretary-General, Treasurer-General, National Organising Secretary; Secretary for Information and Publicity; Chairperson of the Youth Assembly; Chairperson of the Women’s Assembly are elected, not appointed. Yes, you can appoint a Secretary for Elections once you are confirmed by another Extra-Ordinary Congress, but not the rest of the officers who are supposed to be elected at Congress. I may not be so sure – you can tell us, but I suspect that is why.
Section 9.21.3 of the constitution states that in the event of the death or resignation of any other member of the National Council, the same shall elect a person to fill that vacancy pending the next Congress, so one wonders where in the Constitution can a President, provided that President has been endorsed, appoint Officers of Congress into office? It doesn’t matter whether that has been done before, but is it constitutional for the MDC President to appoint members of the Council, let alone members of the Standing Committee?
I am aware that in the event of an officer of Congress resigning, being removed, or passing on, their Deputy can take over as substantive official, but this doesn’t seem to have been the case with your appointments.
The beauty of it all is that you said at the Press Conference you are willing to be advised, so be available for advice irrespective of where it is coming from.