The Sunday News
Richard Runyararo Mahomva
NOW August the 22nd epitomises the historically sustained tradition of Zimbabwe’s republican roots grounded on unequivocal principles of justice and equality.
To the history of the future, the day exudes the renunciation of the arbitrary tenets of power which once upon an epoch structured the systematic clout of Rhodes’ imperial legacy.
This system was resisted by the foremothers and forefathers of our armed liberation struggles. Basing on the lens of memory and its guide to the future, this historic case demystified the opaqueness associated with Zimbabwe’s judiciary system which has been long described as a captured arm of Government.
Through the founding case of this national magnitude by the ConCourt, it was clear for all to see that the process was an embodiment of a newly birthed path to open democracy derived from the 2013 Constitution –which is a by-product of the enduring values of the republic. Those with a high affinity for the constitutional question in Zimbabwe will recall how Tsvangirai’s Supreme Court submissions to contest elections were tackled in the past.
However, in 2018, following the birth of the new dispensation (a precursor to the second republic), in the land of Herbert Chitepo and the late Chief Justice Chidyausiku the nation witnessed an open trial of a matter of this sophisticated magnitude as the Constitutional Court set its virgin milestone. What a dream lived and an aspiration of the past awakened!
A joy to Chitepo and Chidyausiku in the solemnity of their sepulchres. Through a lens of memory, 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 recounts the entirety of the birth-point of our fight for justice which can never be true to its fullest without the mention of Daniel Madzimbamuto. To this day after challenging the legitimacy of the Smith regime, no subject of constitutional law in the world can be discussed and his name is not mentioned.
Most interestingly, as we reflect on this pioneer ConCourt case and its intravenous link to the historical pre-eminence of our justice system, the President-Elect and leader of the ruling Zanu-PF is a character who surfaces in two important epochs of the carving-out of the history of our justice system from the colonial era right up to the present. Lest we forget that he was rescued by age from the hangman’s noose only to become a Minister of Justice in post-independent Zimbabwe.
The man is himself a lawyer by training and thus a befitting protagonist of this analysis also by virtue of being the first respondent in the Chamisa court application. Moreover, he emerged a victor in this court case challenge.
On this account, it’s undisputable that the Emmerson Mnangagwa’s statesmanship pedigree cannot be delinked from law and justice.
As such, the 24 August ultimatum on the election which cedes power to the as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on August the 26th is a step into a new horizon of democracy and the posterity of justice in our country.
Apart from the historical decorum that this case provides to validate the posterity of the legacy of justice in our lifetime, it is needful to mention that Nelson Chamisa –the plaintiff in this matter has a burden of guilt to deal with.
Since 2001, his party which is now characteristically defined in terms of factionalism is on record for disparaging Zimbabwe’s justice system for being an appendage of the ruling party the same way it has alleged Zec for clandestine flirts with Zanu-PF.
Nonetheless, the same opposition continued to Zec’s so-called flawed processes to gain its mandate in the parliament.
Through the similar organ, the opposition was afforded a mandate in a coalition Government in 2008. The Government of National Unity served as a product of the dispassionate character of the electoral justice of our country which to this day has not been accorded the due praise it deserves. In the run-up to the 30 July election, the opposition raised contestations around the voters-roll. Surprisingly, the same voters-roll has also been manipulated to solidify Chamisa’s claim on a lower voter turn-out as presented by Zec.
Besides this burden of contradiction, this case cannot be analysed in isolation of the applicant’s first submission that the election was not credible and that it was supposed to be nullified.
Thus in his relief to the court Chamisa was demanding that he be made President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on the pretext of a simplistic self-defined legitimacy to power contrary to the outcome of the election which gave the President-Elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa the key to a new tenure in office. However, this should not be surprising because Chamisa is not new to affronting the validity of public processes in determining the structural character of power.
It must not be forgotten that he imposed himself president of the opposition faction he took-over and thus widening the crevices of factionalism in the opposition. In the same manner, he was also instrumental for imposing his cronies into some constituencies as National 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 menial, but well contained attempts “to make the country ungovernable” he had no option but to make a late court application –and by the way his lawyer Thabani Mpofu conceded that the application was delayed, hence a technical deficit to the case.
To even abate the probability of winning this court case Chamisa’s application also contained trespasses that were once served as pre-election concerns and thus invalidating the need for the same matters to be heard in the supreme court of the constitution. These included:
The alleged long-standing grievance on Zec’s independence; The alleged monopoly of the ruling party to State media –contrary to the new aura of inclusivity that marked the 2018 election processes; Contention on the voters’ roll –which again was used as Chamisa’s secondary evidence in his appeal;
The complain on the ballot design among other issues which did not merit attention of the Con-Court having been ruled out in the High-Court before the 30 July plebiscite.
Therefore, it’s clear that while the right for any matter to be heard in court the march to the 22nd of August, 2018 was an ego gratification process to frustrate the outcome of the popular expression of the will of the people which was in favour of President Mnangagwa.
Being a lawyer himself and many other principals of the MDC-Alliance, it is quite obvious that this was a political manoeuvre than it was a matter presented to the courts to produce a merited legal outcome.
I am sure, even the least sensible legal mind participating in that case was quite aware that the nullification of an entire election process could not be achieved using the weakest standard of evidence. But to the disservice of their cause, the matters submitted were not substantial to provoke the legal outcome that the MDC-Alliance sympathisers were promised.
Courtesy of Chamisa’s narcissist attributes at play in this matter, the entire nation was robbed of an opportunity for an expeditious inauguration of the President-Elect and thus the setting into motion a new Cabinet to start the much needed business of state-craft.
On the other hand, those who voted for Nelson Chamisa were fed with propaganda of some overwhelming evidence that was going to be presented in court to nullify the entire election process.
To the surprise of many, particularly those who followed the court proceedings objectively, it was clear that Chamisa through his legal team was never honest when he promised to submit to the court proof that Zanu-PF stole the election.
Technically and logically, it was clear that the matter was weak. No proof was presented with regards to the alleged fictitious polling stations, none of the village-heads and military personnel alleged of instigating voter cohesion were mentioned by name.
Moreover, after Advocate Kanengoni’s case it was clear that all the supposed mathematical evidences of Chamisa’s case were flawed. Inevitably, the fulcrum of lies crushed and Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was acquitted. Today he will be inaugurated as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Mahomva is a political-scientist with avid interest in classic and modern political theory. He also has a distinct passion around the architecture of governance in Africa and is a creative literature aficionado.