CEDSA's Pyrrhic win

HARARE - Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA)’s recent court victory for elections to be held by July 31 has not only spawned controversy, but appears Pyrrhic.

Amid indications that the judgment is due for sterner test in the Constitutional Court, many believed the seven-to-two ruling accentuated the prospects of another disputed election, which is bound to besmirch Zimbabwe’s image.

As it is, the political brouhaha that has erupted over a constitutional provision inherited from our colonial past threatens to demolish any hopes that were raised when the country’s constitutional draft was adopted by an overwhelming majority and President Robert Mugabe’s signing of the law.

And in our view, the current debate on the Supreme Court ruling portends a bleak constitutional future for Zimbabwe, and such is the danger that some high-ranking officials have been making reckless statements about critics of the judgment “to wait until they get into government” in order to amend the supreme law.

Frankly, such reckless statements do not inspire public confidence at all and instead create grave doubts about Zimbabwe’s claim to being a constitutional democracy.

In this regard, the public may deduce that the people-driven constitution adopted by a huge
majority is merely an expedient means to an end.

Universally, a constitution must be enduring and be able to outlive the whimsical ambitions of a ruling elite or parochial section as was exposed by inordinate delays with the draft.

In light of this, it is a sad paradox that an institution priding itself as a bulwark of democracy sees it fit or necessary that democratic tenets must be practiced regardless of the conditions and consequences.

Attached to this, we dare ask: whose interests is CEDSA serving, when it knows pretty well that its knee-jerk actions were bound to subvert the very same principles it purports to champion — seeing 2008’s events or debacle is still too fresh in our minds?

Therefore, a fresh challenge to the earlier ruling will definitely serve as a litmus test for the judiciary.

It is a challenge, which the judiciary must handle with utmost care and diligence, lest it puts the courts’ record into question.

The electorate waits with bated breath to see how the Third Estate will handle the contestation of its ruling that for all intents and purposes, impinges and infringes the rights of millions of people to stroke the ego of an unrepresentative body.

Everyone waits for the crunch test with interest. - Staff Writer

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