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Is Zimbabwe’s Opposition at the Brink of Collapse?

Zimbabwe’s top court upheld the decision of a lower court that Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate leader of the country’s largest opposition party. Chamisa’s leadership was contested by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party’s vice-president Thokozani Khupe who had claimed she was the legitimate leader to replace Morgan Tsvangirai after his death in February 2018. The party split into two factions with Khupe leading the MDC-T and Chamisa leading the MDC-Alliance under whose banner he contested the 2018 presidential election, which he lost narrowly to incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Provincial party leader Elias Mashavira 2018 challenged Chamisa’s appointment in court. In a 2019 ruling, high court judge Edith Mushore declared Chamisa’s leadership “unconstitutional and therefore null and void.” The MDC claimed at that time that the ruling was part of a big plot by President Mnangagwa’s governing ruling Zanu-PF party to destabilize it. Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling means that whoever was leading the MDC during Tsvangirai’s time, automatically returns to their positions under the MDC-Alliance banner.