Anxious Zim holds breath

HARARE - Zimbabweans across the political divide are holding their breath as the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) prepares to deliver its eagerly-awaited ruling today on who — between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa — will govern the country following the hotly-disputed July 30 presidential election.

This comes as there are apparent attempts by the European Union and other major global players to try and heal the rift — regardless of the court’s decision— which has emerged between Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF and Chamisa’s MDC Alliance since last month’s closely-contested plebiscite.

Conscious of the tension in the air, Zanu PF called for calm yesterday, ahead of today’s ruling — which could either uphold Mnangagwa’s announced victory or overturn it, depending on the evidence placed before the highest court in the land during Wednesday’s hearing of the matter.

In determining the petition, the Con-Court may declare a winner or invalidate the election — in which case a fresh election will have to be held within 60 days after the determination.

If it upholds the election result, Mnangagwa will be sworn in within 48 hours of the decision.

Chamisa rejected the July 30 poll outcome arguing that this had allegedly been manipulated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in favour of Mnangagwa.

The youthful opposition leader said he was looking forward to today’s court judgment, which he felt would be made in his favour.

“Praise be to God! Our esteemed Constitutional Court has just heard our solid case on the theft of the people’s vote. I congratulate our ‘A’ legal team led by Advocate Thabani Mpofu for a superb job.

“The world now knows the truth. What remains is for justice to be done. #Godisinit,” Chamisa wrote on micro-blogging site, Twitter.

Zanu PF called on ordinary Zimbabweans to maintain peace in the country, just like they had done over the past few days.

“As the Con-Court delivers its verdict tomorrow (today), let the nation embrace the outcome with calm, decency, sobriety and genial composure.

“The focus should be on unity, peace, non-violence and the promotion of irreproachable national conduct.

“We are one family, one people and one nation,” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said in a statement.

Wednesday’s court case came after Zimbabwe held its first ever post-independence elections three weeks ago without deposed leader Robert Mugabe — who resigned from office in November last year on the back of a military intervention.

Millions of Zimbabweans cast their vote in the historic elections to choose both a new Parliament and president — following Mugabe’s dramatic fall from power.

The elections also marked the first time that the main opposition MDC was not represented by its founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost his brave battle with cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day this year.

Zanu PF retained its two thirds parliamentary majority in the plebiscite.

However, the peaceful campaigns and a camaraderie spirit that had characterised the run-up to the elections were sullied in the aftermath of the polls when deadly violence broke out in Harare’s central business district (CBD), following clashes between opposition supporters and security agents.

Atleast Six people subsequently died when the army used live ammunition to break the ugly protests.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Chamisa’s lawyer Mpofu argued strongly that the election had been marred by serious irregularities that he said effectively delegitimised the whole election process.

He also argued that Zec had supplied results to the court which were different from the original ones that it had announced when it declared Mnangagwa the winner of the poll.

“Zec admits to making at least five errors that attack the presumption of validity. The results announced by Zec have been disowned by Zec and it has announced a third set of results. The declaration made by Zec is premised on wrong results.

“If Zec accepts that the first sets of results are wrong, they did not have the primary data to back these results,” Mpofu said.

This was after Zec announced that Mnangagwa had won with 50,8 percent before later revising the figure downwards to 50,6 percent.

The national elections management body said in court that the adjustment was done as a result of “a few mathematical errors” but that this was inconsequential as it didn’t affect Mnangagwa’s result.

“The changes were minor and immaterial and do not mean anything to the outcome of the results,” Zec lawyer Tawanda Kanengoni — who spiritedly argued that Chamisa was relying on circumstantial evidence — told the court.

Meanwhile political analysts have urged whoever is declared the winner by the Con-Court to take measures to heal the deep political divisions afflicting the country.

Constitutional Law expert and former adviser to Tsvangirai, Alex Magaisa — who teaches law in the United Kingdom — told the Daily News yesterday that Zimbabwe had been further divided by the elections and now needed a leader who was Alice to the big picture.

“The most important issue in this electoral process is legitimacy which comes from acceptance of the process, the outcome and the resulting political authority. This was a hard-fought election which confirmed the deep divisions in our country.

“Unfortunately, our electoral system is a winner takes-all system which pleases the victor and excludes those who would have lost and because of deep-seated disputes over elections it causes a lot of animosity. These divisions must be healed,” he said.

“The challenge for the victor is to be able to cater for the interests of all — their supporters and the opponents.

“At the end of the day, it is important to understand that we are in a long transition and that in this transition there are good and bad things.

“We have to be able to eliminate the bad things while steering the country towards progress in a peaceful and democratic environment.

“Much will depend on the political leadership and its ability to see the bigger picture,” Magaisa told the Daily News.

Last week, senior European (EU) and British officials were said to be trying to broker talks between Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance, which would lead to the end of hostilities between the two parties.

The international media reported that EU and UK emissaries had, in this regard, met senior members in both Zanu PF and the MDC in Harare last week.

The arrangements would mirror the system in Britain, where the leader of the opposition and his chief whip are paid by the State, they said.

Zanu PF, however, has since ruled out entering into talks with Chamisa, as it was angered by his decision to approach the Con-Court to overturn Mnangagwa’s victory.


Comments (1)

Congratulations again to President Mnangagwa

Daniel 5 - 24 August 2018

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