A party full of political theatrics

26 Aug, 2018 - 00:08 0 Views
A party full of political theatrics Nelson Chamisa

The Sunday Mail

Richard Mahomva
As most principals of the MDC-Alliance are lawyers, it is obvious they knew that the case was weak, but they pressed on for political reasons.

August 22 epitomises the historically preserved tradition of Zimbabwe’s republican roots, which are grounded on principles of justice and equality.

The Constitutional Court judgement was historic as it demystified the perceived opaqueness of Zimbabwe’s judiciary system, which for long has been unfairly accused of being a captured arm of Government.

The handling of the case by the ConCourt was clear for all to see that the process affirmed a newly birthed trajectory to open democracy as prescribed by the 2013 Constitution, which is a by-product of the enduring values of the republic.

At this juncture, it is worth remembering how Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s Supreme Court cases were handled in past.

This year, following the birth of the new dispensation — a precursor to the Second Republic — Zimbabweans managed to witness a major milestone in the Constitutional Court, where the Bench openly dealt with Mr Nelson Chamisa’s election petition.

The proceedings were a reminder of the heroic mark left by Chitepo and Chidyausiku in our halls of justice.

These two men will be remembered for setting the benchmarks restoring the ontological and economic dignity that was lost to colonial prejudice.

This is the same dignity that our election processes have sought to attain in the interest of improving the welfare of our people and consolidating other fundamental national interests.

The Constitutional Court’s preoccupation with the question of democracy aptly captures the country’s fight for justice, which can never be told in full without referring to one Daniel Madzimbamuto.

To this day, after challenging the legitimacy of the Smith regime, his name is now religiously referred to in Constitutional law studies.

Most interestingly, as we reflect on last week’s historic ConCourt case and its intravenous link to the historical pre-eminence of our justice system, it is hard to ignore how the President-elect, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, constantly features in key epochs of the country’s justice system, from the colonial era to the present.

Lest we forget, a young Emmerson Mnangagwa was spared the hangman’s noose on account of his age.

Ironically, he was to become a Minister of Justice in independent Zimbabwe.

Further, it is worth remembering that he is lawyer by training.

His inauguration today as the President of the Second Republic is a step into a new horizon of democracy and justice.

But last week’s election petition is not only a marker of crucial historical period, but it also shifts a significant burden of guilt on the plaintiff, Mr Chamisa.

Since 2001, his party, which is now battling factionalism, has become infamous for disparaging the Judiciary for allegedly being an appendage of the ruling party.

They also have the same script for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which they accuse of colluding with Zanu-PF to steal the election.

Although they maintained this position, the same opposition still participated in ZEC’s so-called flawed process.

It has to be remembered that it was the opposition’s participation in such processes that afforded them the opportunity to be part of the inclusive Government in 2008, which served as a product of the dispassionate character of the electoral justice of our country.

In the run-up to the 30 July election, the opposition raised concerns around the voters’ roll.

Surprisingly, the same voters’ roll is being conveniently used to claim that there was a lower voter turnout.

Such contradictions ran through most of the MDC-Alliance submissions.

Absurdly, Mr Chamisa demanded that the court should declare him President contrary to the outcome of the election, which gave President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa the mandate to govern the country for the next five years.

But this, however, is not surprising for Chamisa is known for disputing public processes that do not favour him. It must not be forgotten that he imposed himself president of the opposition faction he took over and, thus, fanning factionalism in the opposition.

He was also instrumental in imposing his cronies into some constituencies as House of Assembly candidates.

From his pre-election rhetoric, it was clear that his interest was to oppose any outcome that ranked him a loser.

True to his word, after attempts ‘to make the country ungovernable’, he had no option but to make a late court application, and by the way his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu conceded that the application was filed out of time.

Some of the grievances that were raised by the opposition, which clearly had no basis or bearing on the election result were:

◆ The alleged long-standing grievance on ZEC’s independence;

◆ The alleged bias of the public media — contrary to the effort that was made to cover all political parties.

◆ Contention on the voters’ roll —which again was used as Mr Chamisa’s secondary evidence in his appeal;

◆ The complaint on the ballot design, among other issues, which did not merit attention of the ConCourt having already been decided by the High Court before the July 30 plebiscite.

While parties have the right to have their cases heard in court, what is now clear is that the petition itself was simply an attempt to frustrate the will of the people.

As most principals of the MDC-Alliance are lawyers, it is obvious they knew that the case was weak, but they pressed on for political reasons.

It was clear, even for the layman, that the case lacked merit.

The nation, which urgently needs to cover ground, was unnecessary kept at a standstill for almost two weeks.

By now, a new Government could have been formed.

It must have been hard for MDC-Alliance supporters who were constantly fed with lies throughout.

All the allegations were merely bar talk.

The submissions from ZEC lawyer Tawanda Kanengoni further weakened and exposed the dishonest allegations from the MDC-Alliance.

Well, all this led us to today when Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa is being inaugurated as the President of the Second Republic.


Mahomva is a political scientist with avid interest in classic and modern political theory.


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