EDITORIAL C0MMENT: We won’t give you a fig leaf

It is not news that Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is being inaugurated today as President of our Republic, our Second Republic.

As one columnist pointed out in yesterday’s issue of our sister paper The Herald, the advent of the Second Republic is predicated on two key foundational aspects: a free, fair, credible and peaceful election; and rule of law as administered by solid institutions, in this case the Constitutional Court.

The above speaks firstly to the issue of legitimacy, a legitimacy borne from a mandate given by voters who have reposed their hopes for socio-economic transformation as enunciated by the winner of the Presidential election.

Secondly, it speaks to building a nation on constitutionality, respect for and implementation of rules and laws, and resolution of disputes in a civilised manner.

Evidently, the burden of safeguarding the largely above lies with Government. It is mostly the responsibility of the majority and the elected national leadership to ensure this foundation for the Second Republic remains solid.

Which is why it is pleasing to hear all the right noises coming out of the camp of the victor, as evidenced by his remarks to church leaders in Harare yesterday.

At a prayer meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, President-elect Mnangagwa said, “I appeal to my Presidential colleagues … that every five years there is a day that the people of Zimbabwe decide who to give a mandate to run the country.

“After that is over, we all, in my view, should embrace each other and move forward. Again, when the other day comes after five years, we have the opportunity to repeat the same and say ‘who do you want to carry the mantle of the State for the next five years?’

“But through all this, peace, peace, unity and love should be the flagship of Zimbabwe. That way, as a nation, there is no limit as to how much we can develop our country and improve our lives.”

While the victor is measured, magnanimous, mature and forward-looking at a time it would be all to easy to gloat, the loser is throwing tantrums and in the process justifying to the world why indeed he lost the Presidential race.

As President-elect Mnangagwa spoke of nation-building yesterday, Mr Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance was stoking the flames of chaos.

Speaking out of both sides of mouth that was wont to tell tall tales throughout the campaign period, Mr Chamisa said: “It is clear that the legal route has led us to a dead end; a dead end in the context of the result that has come out of that court…

“Needless to say, ladies and gentlemen, I want to reconfirm and confirm our position that yes we respect the court, the Constitutional Court, but not only that, it is a court that is expected by all of us who are law abiding to respect issues of law and constitutionalism.

“But also as myself being concerned, I am an officer of the court and being an officer of the court I am alive of my professional code which is to respect the views and decisions of the court.

“But it is also important for me to note that in understanding that in respecting the decision of the Constitutional Court do not by definition mean accepting it.”

So what is it Mr Chamisa wants to do next to show his respect of the court by disregarding and subverting its ruling?

He wants to exhort the same supporters that he lied to about tonnes of “evidence” of alleged rigging to take to the streets to force a change of Government.

Having failed to get the majority behind him, having failed to convince a single Constitutional Court judge to buy his yarns, he now wants to get into office via street protests by the minority.

(Mind you, these are protests that he wants to unleash in his isolated strongholds — there will be none in Matabeleland South, across Mashonaland, in Midlands, in Masvingo, in Manicaland, indeed in well over two thirds of the country!)

The opposition leader, despite his mealy-mouthed “I-respect-the-court-I-don’t-accept-the-court’s-findings” ramble yesterday is clearly angling for chaos.

Should he remain resolute on pursuing this ill-thought, nay, un-thought course of action, he will surely come to grief sooner rather than later as the majority of Zimbabweans are, firstly, not behind him, and secondly, more interested in rebuilding their country.

Mr Chamisa is neither legitimate nor a proponent of constitutionalism and constitutionality. Zimbabwe requires an opposition that is loyal to its country and the interests of the people, not the interests of someone who exhibits “a false, Pentecostal piety that (dresses) a naked and precocious love for power”.

Zimbabweans should not engage in Mr Chamisa’s planned chaos, they should not give him a fig leaf to cover his political nudity. That said, Mr Chamisa would do well to first deal with the rebellion in the Alliance ranks that has been waiting for his Presidential election loss to fully explode, before he can try and destabilise the foundations of the Second Republic. Hopefully, from the ashes of the brewing internecine strife there shall rise an opposition that is loyal to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans.

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