MDC Alliance presidential hopeful Nelson Chamisa’s lawyers said they had now left everything to God to make a verdict after they argued their client’s case at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Wednesday seeking to overturn President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory in the July 30 elections.
BY Everson Mushava
Chamisa’s lead lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu said he believed they had done a good job and “what remained was God’s part”, as Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo called on parties and their supporters to remain calm and be prepared to accept the ConCourt’s ruling this afternoon.
In an interview after Wednesday’s gruelling ConCourt hearing, Mpofu expressed optimism the outcome would be favourable to his client.
“We have done our best, it is now for God to do the rest,” Mpofu said.
The ConCourt will today hand over its judgement in the case in which Chamisa is seeking to be declared winner of the July 30 elections, claiming Mnangagwa’s narrow 50,8% electoral victory was fraudulent.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba and his full ConCourt bench on Wednesday reserved judgment in the matter to today, but anxiety has remained high among supporters of both parties.
“As the ConCourt delivers its verdict tomorrow (today), let the nation embrace the outcome, let the nation embrace the outcome with calm, decency, sobriety and genial composure,” Moyo said in a statement yesterday.
“The focus should be on unity, peace, non-violence and promotion of irreproachable national conduct. We are one family, one people and one nation. Forward with economic emancipation.”
But Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda was non-committal on whether his boss would accept a negative outcome, curtly saying: “President Chamisa respects constitutionality and rule of law and that is what he is. He is ready to accept an outcome that reflects the evidence given in court. The president will not speculate what the court will say, but he is sure with the advice given by his lawyers that the results announced by Zec are not a true reflection of how the people voted and the matter has been proved before the court.”
Sibanda said Chamisa was appealing to people “trying to manipulate Zimbabwe’s system to accept that our country can reform and become a fledgling democracy”.
He added: “Zec failed to answer fundamental questions, including the 300 000 who voted in Mashonaland Central within an hour, the disparity between the voter turnout for the presidential and parliamentary elections, Zec’s final figures that do not tally, among others.”
Sibanda urged the government to respect the constitutional rights of its citizens, including their freedom of association and assembly.
In his submissions in court, Mpofu said the mere fact that Zec changed figures for the presidential election three times before the court hearing meant that its data could not be trusted and created the basis for the nullification of the election outcome.
Mnangagwa’s lawyers, Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Advocate Lewis Uriri expressed confidence that Chamisa’s application would be dismissed in today’s ruling.
“The application is frivolous. We are confident there is nothing placed before the court, the application is non-legal, but is meant to be a political show elsewhere,” Uriri said.
Meanwhile, one of the losing presidential candidates, Daniel Shumba, yesterday insisted that the ConCourt should have considered his submissions.
Shumba, Build Zimbabwe leader Noah Manyika and Coalition of Democrats leader Elton Mangoma had their submissions dismissed on a technicality.
“However, I found it unfair because of the absence of rules governing such a critical matter. The court would have been enriched from the arguments we would have made. It had the right to dismiss it after getting all the information. We are now blaming gatekeepers because we were not allowed access to the fountain of justice. The court was not going to lose anything in hearing our submissions.”
Shumba urged the bench to consider the effect of compromising the people’s will while making a judgment in the Chamisa case today.
“In coming up with judgments, the bench needs to consider the effect of compromising the people’s will. The fact that figures have changed compromised the verdict for the first and 23 respondents. Coming generations will be visited by the polarisation created by this judgment. I trust that the judges will cross over the horizons and come up with an informed judgment.”
He added: “Judgment will be handed tomorrow (today) and we are, however, curious on why such hurry. It will be difficult to extrapolate sufficient data. However, our judges are competent and have received awards and the nation can be expected to expect a fair judgment.”
“The consequences of this judgment cut across the internal power play, but have the effect on the economic recovery of our country, confidence building and regard for the rule of law by the apex court. We remain prayerful and trust God that the outcome will be for greater good,” he said.