True grit beneath the beauty

When we go down the annals of this country’s history, specifically the 2018 harmonised elections, Justice Priscilla Chigumba will feature prominently.
She was at the centre of it all and she held herself very well.

Before taking over one of the toughest jobs in the highly politicised country called Zimbabwe, Justice Chigumba had already made her mark as a judge of the High Court.

Leader of the Elders, former United Nations secretary general, Mr Kofi Annan and Justice Priscilla Chigumba
Leader of the Elders, former United Nations secretary general, Mr Kofi Annan and Justice Priscilla Chigumba

In 2016, the High Court judge became a darling of activists, human rights defenders and the opposition political parties after delivering a brave judgement in which she overturned a Government ban against demonstrations in Harare.

A year later, the valiant woman again came under the spotlight when she ruled that there was no evidence to convict #ThisFlag founder, Pastor Evan Mawarire, on allegations of attempting to overthrow Mr Robert Mugabe’s Government.

With such an impressive and indelible footprint, it is almost difficult to believe that Justice Chigumba was sworn in as a magistrate just 13 short years ago and made it to the High Court bench in 2012.

Then the young woman found herself at the very centre of Zimbabwe’s historic elections and it didn’t seem to unnerve her.

With 23 Presidential aspirants and 133 contesting parties, she had her work cut out — especially with an opposition MDC-Alliance determined to dispute every single move she made.

The MDC-Alliance called her a prostitute, they accused her of being biased, and they tried to make Zec only what they opposition wanted.

She did not flinch.

She firmly told the world that only an earthquake could stop the elections after the proclamation of the date by the President.

“As I have already said, not even the Government of Zimbabwe can direct or control Zec to do anything or not do anything,” said Justice Chigumba, who — like a diamond — got harder as the heat and pressure increased.

There was no earthquake, and Justice Chigumba oversaw the elections in an unwavering, calm, confident and professional manner.

When some quarters claimed she was delaying the announcement of the Presidential results, Justice Chigumba reminded Zimbabweans that Zec was well within constitutional timelines. Zec had five days to give the results. It did it in just about three.

Professionalism and steadfastness are not the only words that capture the essence of Justice Chigumba; her sense of fashion is also on point.

Considering her tight schedule, it was amazing how she always made sure she came before the world’s cameras showcasing the best of Zimbabweans beauty.

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On a lighter (but very important) note, however, it is my opinion that the only thing that was a total mess during the just-ended polls was the fact that the women of Zimbabwe were notified rather late that their manicure would not be allowed on their pinkie fingers to pave way for the indelible ink.

Imagine, the fairer sex had to sacrifice their expensive nails to cast their votes. If only they had been told earlier.

Indeed, the naked pinkie nails that we have been seeing of late have been an eyesore. Maybe the new President can consider taking the women for a manicure. Just saying.

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