EDITORIAL COMMENT: Here comes the Second Republic!

Chief Justice Malaba

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday upheld the victory by President Mnangagwa in the July 30 election and dismissed with costs, a petition by MDC Alliance’s Mr Nelson Chamisa seeking a nullification of the result.

Nine judges of the apex court took the unanimous decision to throw out Mr Chamisa’s challenge for lack of evidence after they exercised their rights to overlook the opposition politician’s failure to file his petition and serve papers on all respondents within seven days of the announcement of the presidential election result.

“The application is dismissed with costs. In terms of Section 93, subsection 4 subparagraph (a) of the Constitution Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is duly declared the winner of the presidential elections held on the 30th of July 2018,” said Chief Justice Malaba.

The decision came two days after the ConCourt had heard the appeal by Mr Chamisa alleging that President Mnangagwa’s 50, 67% electoral victory was fraudulent.  The opposition leader produced no evidence to back his claim, just advancing a string of probabilities, innuendoes, social media downloads and a statistical model done by a person of disputable expertise.  It was therefore widely expected that his appeal would fail and that President Mnangagwa would be declared winner of the election.

“It is very rare that a bench of nine would deliver a unanimous decision which means that the respondent team attended to all aspects necessary to be dealt with to prove their case on all fours,” Cde Mnangagwa said an interview soon after Chief Justice Malaba declared him the winner.

“The level of intellectual and jurisprudence in Zimbabwe in my view is very high and I feel that we have a bench of highly qualified persons who can stand anywhere the world over. I feel that the clarity by which they delivered the judgment, they have left no room for speculation except for idle academic debate. I wholly accept their decision. It accords the will of the people politically as well as legally.

“To Nelson Chamisa, my door is open and my arms are outstretched.  We are one people, making one nation under one flag and singing one national anthem. It is now my wish, and I believe it is the wish of every patriotic Zimbabwean that we should all put our shoulder to the wheel and move forward as a nation and as a people. Let us now put whatever differences we might have behind us. It is time to build our nation and move forward together.”

Paying tribute to all Zimbabweans and Zanu-PF members for voting for him, the President reiterated the need for unity and greater focus towards rebuilding the economy.

President Mnangagwa will be inaugurated tomorrow, which is within 48 hours of him being declared duly elected.  The coronation will be a high point for the President, his party Zanu-PF and the millions of people who voted for them on July 30.  That will mark the official start of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe while formally concluding a 10-month transition that started when he assumed office on November 24 last year, three days after the resignation of former President; Mr Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa and his party have secured a roaring five-year mandate they deeply wanted and deserved.  They valiantly fought for it against remnants of the Mugabe regime; some who are still within the party structures, a field of 55 parties and at least three coalitions, Mr Chamisa’s being the largest.

The events of the past three weeks and President Mnangagwa’s inauguration tomorrow should put an end to close to four years of relative instability and uncertainty in the ruling party over the succession of Mr Mugabe.  Because Zanu-PF is the ruling party, the spell obviously impacted negatively on the overall governance of the country and the economy.  Politics and politics alone had taken centre stage while the economy suffered.

Tomorrow is the moment for our country to re-launch itself from that period with much focus shifting to the economy.  Over the past nine months or so, President Mnangagwa and his team have counseled on the need for all of us to unite and work to put the economy back on track.  He has actually put that into practice given the fact that up to $16 billion worth of investment commitments had been recorded by mid last month.  Some companies have gone beyond committing themselves to investing and have actually put their money into the economy.

What they and others who had made commitments were waiting for before going full throttle is the formal conclusion of the electoral process tomorrow.

From then on, we expect a takeoff anchored on the work that the President and his team have done since last November.

We have no doubt that Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa is indeed in safe hands.  The country will undergo rapid economic development in the next five years and will be in a state so different from what it is now.  Anyone else was going to take a year or two learning the ropes of governing a country and fumbling around for an economic idea to pursue.  We have no time for experiments, having already endured 18 years of economic stagnation and suffering.
For this and more, we applaud the millions who voted for stability, continuity and pragmatism under President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF.

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