Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader has lost a court appeal to remain president of the biggest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Nelson Chamisa’s appointment as MDC leader in 2018 followed the death of Morgan Tsvangirai, a former union leader who had founded the MDC in 1999.
The Supreme Court ruled that that appointment was illegal as Mr Chamisa had not been elected by a congress as per the party rules.
Despite the internal leadership wrangles, Mr Chamisa won close to 45% of the national presidential vote, losing narrowly to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018 amidst claims of electoral fraud.
The MDC must now hold a congress within the next three months.
Thokozani Khupe, the former vice-president and Mr Chamisa’s main challenger, will lead the party till then.
Both claim to be the legitimate leaders of the party. Mr Chamisa has more supporters and a control of the party’s assets.
Analysts say his options now will be to appeal the ruling or form another party.
The MDC has split many times since its formation more than 20 years ago – in nasty power struggles that have weakened its performance at elections.