INDEPTH: Chamisa outlines way forward; says political options ‘very soon’ as legal door banged shut

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By Gilbert Nyambabvu

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa assured supporters Saturday that “victory is certain, and victory is coming soon” as he rejected the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) ruling dismissing his challenge against  the July 30 presidential election results.

The country’s top court upheld President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s narrow victory in the milestone ballot, paving the way for the Zanu PF leader’s inauguration Sunday.

In its unanimous ruling, the full bench of the Con-Court said the opposition failed to provide “sufficient and credible evidence” to back up claims of irregularities.

Again, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had “debunked to some degree” those and other claims by Chamisa.

However, addressing a press conference in Harare Saturday, Chamisa – a lawyer – said although he – as obliged – respected the court’s ruling, “I respectfully disagree and reject the position that was arrived at by the court”.

MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti (left) attended the press conference

Respecting the court decision does not mean that “the Constitutional Court is an infallible institution; they can also make mistakes”.

“To make this position very clear, the Constitutional Court can’t tell us that today is a Sunday,” he explained.

“If they were to say so, we would respectfully differ with them and tell that, as a matter of fact, today is a Saturday. In as much as we respect that you’re a Constitutional Court, you’re telling us that today is a Sunday when it’s a Saturday.”

He however, conceded “that the legal route has led us to a dead end” but that development simply cleared the way for the opposition to other options.

Political doors to open soon

“Yes, the Constitutional Court door, which is the legal route, has been shut, but the legal door is not the only door to happiness, to democracy to freedom.

“There are many other doors; the political doors are going to be opened very soon. Using our constitution, we have the right to peaceful protest; we have the right to peacefully demonstrate.

“We will examine and executive all those available doors so that we able to open the door to freedom and justice and that will be done very soon. I can tell you that victory is certain, and victory is coming.”

President Mnangagwa faces a legitimacy crisis, the MDC Alliance leader emphasised.

“Chief Justice Luke Malaba himself noted the essential point that it is not the duty of the Constitutional Court to confer legitimacy on any particular candidate or any particular election,” he said.

Nelson Chamisa (left) addresses journalists in Harare on Saturday

SADC, AU warning

“Legitimacy can never be conferred in a court of law. Legitimacy is a function and creature of the will of the people; legitimacy is a function and creature of people voting.”

He added; “We cannot resolve the issues (facing this country) with a disputed leader; president Mnangagwa is disputed as a leader.

“I have legitimate claim that I’m supposed to be leading the people of Zimbabwe.

“I know that SADC and AU (African Union) may come (to Mnangagwa inauguration) but they are coming here to buttress an illegitimacy …

“… they are coming here to simply endorse an unacceptable outcome from the perspective of the people of Zimbabwe.

“This is not just a Chamisa-ED (Mnangagwa) issue; it is a Zimbabwean people’s issue and we want this issue to be resolved.

“Change is coming; whether it is delayed is another thing, but it cannot be denied. Change will come, and it is going to come sooner than we think.”

MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora (left) was also at the press conference

CRITICISM of Con-Court ruling

Re-opening ballot boxes

“… as you know, in the (Jameson) Timba case this party went to the Court and requested our courts to re-open the residual material and it was clearly ruled that in a harmonised election, you can’t ask the court to reopen ballot boxes and we respected the decision. And even in a recent case we are challenging (Mutasa South), they have said that we can’t open the ballot boxes for a recount, but the same court now says you were supposed to go back and ask for the ballot boxes to be reopened. Why should the ballot boxes be opened for things we do not want? We are not going to get the mathematical issues in the ballot box; if anything, it’s just a confirmation of the same problem. So why should we do the obvious?

ZEC subpoena refused by court

“ … the people voted in this country; from our tally – and we insist on that tally – because we asked the Constitutional Court to issue a subpoena, but it was turned down. That subpoena was going to indicate why we continue to insist that we got 2.6 million votes and President Emmerson Mnangagwa got less that 2 million. We have the specifics and we are ready to distribute them at the appropriate time.

The second issue is where we felt that certain information as not taken and given due regard. We would have expected ZEC to be quizzed by the Court on certain issues; announcing three different sets of results, that cannot be condoned! We would have expected the court to also delve into matters of the credibility of our messages around the issue of subpoena because the subpoena is actually primary evidence.