Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
The MDC Alliance was a victim of its own propaganda after it claimed to have awe-inspiring evidence to overturn President Mnangagwa’s victory in last month’s elections, Zanu-PF lawyers have said.
The lawyers made the remarks following the Constitutional Court ruling yesterday that upheld the election President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The court ruled that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s claims of fraud and malpractices on the conduct of the polls were bald and unsubstantiated to cause the nullification of the results.
President Mnangagwa’s lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri welcomed the ruling saying the judgment was well reasoned.
“Well, the judgment accords with the law, it accords with the principles and common sense,” he said. “He who alleges must prove. The problem that we had with the applicant is that they concocted a story for their constituency and ended up believing it themselves. They fell victim of their own propaganda hence the result we have today.”
Adv Thembinkosi Magwaliba who also argued the case along with Adv Uriri described the ruling as a win for democracy in Zimbabwe but above all a win
for the legal profession.
“It is enrichment to our jurisprudence and the country is much wiser after the judgment than before and certainly in future petitions,” he said.
“Applications of this nature will be guided by this judgment. But ultimately it is the people of Zimbabwe who benefited from this judgment.”
Another lawyer Mr Tinomudaishe Chinyoka from the same camp said: “If a litigant goes to court without evidence that litigant should expect to lose. It was not surprising. There was no evidence and no facts and the court correctly found so. That was an inevitable result.”
Mr Chinyoka said Mr Chamisa knew he had no case at all to bring such a petition. He said Mr Chamisa’s petition was not mounted for legal results but for political purposes.
“One hopes he has achieved that political aim,” he said. “But for purposes of the law, and clarity this was a good judgment.”
But MDC Alliance lead counsel in the case Advocate Thabani Mpofu was split on the outcome. He said he was happy with the matter his team had brought to court and on account of the issues they raised, which in his view Zec failed to answer.
“We have noted the judgment of the court and noted that our issues have not been dealt with,” said Adv Mpofu.
“So, ultimately the court has spoken. The good thing is that people followed through the proceedings and are entitled to come up with their own conclusion. But there is a serious legitimacy crisis.”
A MDC Alliance member and lawyer Mr Douglas Mwonzora conceded that the ruling had put the dispute to rest and they will respect the court’s decision.
“As MDC we will respect the decision of the highest court in the land,” he said. “As far as the legal challenge is concerned this is the end of the matter.”
Mr Mwonzora, however, said if the dispute still remained, there were other ways to resolve such as the political route.
“I want to make it clear that as MDC we are going to act in accordance with the law,” he said. “The party is going to do those things that are allowed by the law. It is not going to break the law. We can resolve some of the disputes via political solutions.”
Mr Mwonzora said his party will convene a meeting next Wednesday to chat the way forward.
Zec lawyer Mr Charles Nyika applauded the ruling saying it has absolved the electoral body of any wrong doing.
“The court has made its ruling and we are pleased,” he said.
“This landmark ruling exonerates Zec from all those unfounded allegations.” Mr Nyika said. “It was now time for the Zimbabweans to move forward as a nation.”
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was part of Zanu-PF’s legal team said his party was content that the institutions that were under attack were able to weather the storm and emerged as world class institutions performing under world class standards.
“We are very proud of all of them, Zec and the Constitutional Court,” he said. “I must say am very impressed by the legal skills that have been displayed in this Constitutional hearing. Am very impressed it says a lot about the depth of legal skills in this country.”
He saluted the ruling saying the court fearlessly decided to uphold the free will of the Zimbabwean people expressed on July 30 harmonised elections, but criticised Mr Chamisa and the party’s other principal Mr Tendai Biti for calling for sanctions and scandalising Zec and the judiciary.
“We are very pleased with the outcome,” he said.
“We are naturally disappointed that there were a barrage of attack by Chamisa, (Tendai) Biti and accompany at the Zec, the electoral system and the integrity of the constitutional court and our judicial system as well as against the economy.”
Mr Chamisa declared publicly that the courts were an appendage of Zanu-PF and were involved in conspiracy to undermine his perceived ascendancy to the Presidency of Zimbabwe.
The Minister also expressed his discontent over determinations by Mr Chamisa and Biti to ask for intensification and extension of sanctions against the economy, basically reversing the gains President Mnangagwa has made in re-engagement exercise in addressing issues of re-engage with the multilateral institutions.
“All that they have sought to do most particularly through the acts of banditry and riots that they instigated on August 1,” said Minister Chinamsa.
“I am disappointed with the actions of the opposition in this regard.”
He said it was now time for Government to begin serious work and accelerate economic reforms saying that the country needed economic recovery the most.