Chamisa should respect the people, the law

by Nobleman Runyanga

The Nelson Chamisa-led opposition outfit is hypocritical. They preach the loudest about the rule of law but when it comes to observing it, they happily play victimhood in order to deflect the public’s judgement over their flagrant disregard for the law.

During this year’s election season Chamisa and his lieutenants incited their followers to unleash violence and render the country ungovernable if he lost the presidential election. The reason: to get back at ZANU PF for winning the polls and, obviously, to relieve the post-poll dissonance and come to terms with the debilitating electoral loss.

During a campaign rally in Highfield West on 10 July 2018, MDC-T Chamisa faction organising secretary, Amos Chibaya threatened to illegally remove President MNANGAGWA from power if the Alliance’s demands were not met. He said that, “kana (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa na (ZEC Chairperson, Justice Priscilla) Chigumba vakaramba kutiratidza kuri kuprintwa ballot paper, taakubvisa Mnangagwa wacho. Taakuenda kuState House.”

The faction’s women assembly chairperson, Lynette Karenyi-Kore also shocked peace-loving Zimbabweans and visiting foreign election observers alike when, at the same forum, she incited Alliance members to picket at their respective polling stations after voting “in order to safeguard your vote.” This was in spite of ZEC’s clear regulations which preclude voters and other interested parties from milling near polling stations especially after casting their ballots. Whether or not they had valid concerns and anxieties, the way the party planned to go about drawing the attention of Government, the region, continent and the world to their issues was just wrong. The end did not justify the means.

Instead of whipping his lieutenants into line regarding the observance of the rule of law, Chamisa seemed to be the one giving them the cue to speak carelessly. On 16 July 2018, Justice Chigumba had to warn Chamisa for threatening to announce the results of the just ended harmonised elections in flagrant disregard for the Electoral Act which precludes any other party apart from ZEC from announcing the results. 

In spite of Justice Chigumba’s warning, Chamisa tweeted on 31 July 2018 that his party had won the election. He just fell short of announcing the collation of polling centre results as the actual and official election results, notwithstanding the fact that ZEC subjects results to meticulous verification first before announcing them.

 “We now have results from the majority of over 10 000 polling stations. We've done exceedingly well. Awaiting ZEC to perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people's election results and we are ready to form the next government,” Chamisa tweeted just a day after the polls.

A fellow MDC Alliance partner, Tendai Biti, also held a press conference at the MDC-T Chamisa faction’s Morgan Tsvangirai House (former Harvest House) headquarters in Harare on 31 July 2018 where, he among other things, indicated that the Alliance had received the results of the elections from its agents. He, however, also fell short of announcing the figures despite the Alliance’s usual facade of bravado when its leadership is addressing its membership, whose majority are excitable youths.

“Results show beyond reasonable doubt that we have won this election and (the) next President (of Zimbabwe) is Nelson Chamisa,” Biti told the media during the press conference.

At some point during the campaign period, MDC Alliance Spokesperson, Professor Welshman Ncube told a campaign rally that Justice Chigumba was a national security threat.

“The biggest national threat today, the challenge to national security today, the biggest obstacle to a new Zimbabwe is Chigumba and her colleagues at ZEC,” Ncube said. Ncube’s colleagues have demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt as to who between them on one hand and Justice Chigumba and ZEC on the other was threatening national security. Justice Chigumba and her team follow the law to the letter while the Alliance leadership brazenly and shamelessly disregards it. The MDC-T Chamisa faction of the Alliance was party to the painstaking two plus years of coming up with a new constitution which was eventually adopted in May 2013. The Electoral Act is based on the people-made constitution and it was enacted by legislators, who were chosen by the people of Zimbabwe. This effectively means that the Alliance, in pursuit of power, is disrespecting and trampling on the same people, who it is seeking to rule.

Chamisa and his Alliance partners should respect the law and the people of Zimbabwe if they wish to be respected and taken seriously as political stakeholders in the country’s politics.