Politicians mustn’t get away with slandering judges

Echoes: CONWAY TUTANI

The habit of the main opposition MDC of getting itself into a mess and then some rabid elements in the party blaming everyone —from the government to the courts — except themselves has to stop.

After the High Court this week ruled that Nelson Chamisa’s appointment as MDC president was unconstitutional, all sorts of angry accusations erupted, with the usual suspects alleging that High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore was doing the Zanu PF government’s bidding to undermine the MDC, whereas the decision by the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (may his soul rest in peace) was the genesis of most of these leadership rows rocking the party even now. Little — or nothing — was externally engineered despite some paranoid conspiracy theorists in the MDC pointing fingers at party co-deputy president Elias Mudzuri, whose appointment was also declared invalid by Justice Mushore, and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora.

This writer pointed out after Tsvangirai’s death in February 2018, when a picture was published showing Chamisa being lifted by what appeared to be party fanatics, through a hole which had been drilled at the building housing the party headquarters, that this was not the best way for Chamisa to announce his entry.

But I was roundly condemned and even verbally abused for stating that this undignified over-excitedness and overhastiness depicted in that picture would leave them in a mess if not resolved procedurally and civilly. Not that I hold any brief for Chamisa, but I wrote then: “The irony of it all is that Chamisa could have easily won without the ugly violence that has ensued.”

Maybe it’s that Chamisa cannot handle the adulation and intense focus on him. Up to now, no lessons have been learnt because I do not see any let-up in this over-excitedness and overhastiness, and one Sinyo in an SMS, agrees with me: “MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and ZCTU president Peter Mutasa should be careful not to promise easy solutions to complicated situations just in order for populism. To say workers should be paid in United States dollars is far-fetched and unreal. Teachers alone will need no less than US$7,5 million a month” (NewsDay May 4, 2019).

Indeed, there are no quick and easy fixes to the economy in the same way that it has been proved that there are no shortcuts to leadership — including MDC leadership.

Back to this week’s High Court judgment, reacting in his typical over-the-top and way-off-the-mark fashion, MDC Alliance (MDC-A) spokeperson Jacob Mafume fumed (pun not intended): “The choice of leaders of any political party, the world over, is the sole preserve of the members of that party. It can never be a judicial process.

Equally, the actions, activities and programmes of a political party, being a voluntary organisation, whose existence is protected by the Constitution, is the sole preserve of the members that party.”

But, as fellow Zimbabwean Itayi Garande pointed out, that is not the end of the story, it’s oversimplifying matters. Garande elucidated: “Yes, these statements are true, but which political party is Mafume referring to? He refers to the ‘MDC’ causing further confusion. MDC belongs to Welshman Ncube.

Interestingly, Mafume is not referring to the MDC Alliance in his response, nor the MDC-T. The party in question is MDC-T. MDC-A can hold a congress as it is a separate political party. It has that right, but that congress does not make it a legitimate successor of the MDC-T, which the court has ruled as under Thokozani Khupe as of 2004. That is the crux of the matter.”

But Mafume contrives to fume and blame it on “the machinations and strategies being deployed by the Mnangagwa administration to destabilise and destroy the people’s project”, questioning the integrity of Justice Mushore.

It was the same when they went to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) last year alleging that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had rigged the elections without any substantive evidence, but mere bald allegations, as Chief Justice Luke Malaba put it.

The ConCourt indulged them for filing late, but it was too much to expect the court to accept the half-baked evidence of rigging they produced.

Observed fellow Zimbabwean Prosper Banda: “Zimbabwe has to lament the politicisation of our justice system. If a decision does not please one political party, it is quickly labelled as a political decision. It is sad that even renowned lawyers like Tendai Biti rush to Twitter and wilfully mislead the the public. Firstly, the courts must never interfere in the internal poltics of a political party or any club, unless there is flagrant disregard of the law. if there is flagrant disregard of your own constituion, the court will and has the right to order you to follow your own constitution…”

Even the matter of the constitution and membership of my beloved Dynamos Football Club has been dealt with at the High Court, so where is this noise coming from?

After they duly lost the case in the ConCourt, they went into their default mode of taking it out on Chief Justice Malaba and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba.

A case in point is that of MDC Alliance secretary for local government Sesel Zvidzai, who is more foul-mouthed than United States President Donald Trump.

He spewed this bile against Justice Chigumba last year without providing any shred of evidence of impropriety against her:

“There are lots of good women, we refer to them as omama, vana mai (mothers) etc and there are whores too, mahure, amahule, ladies of the night — Chigumba is one of those bad ones.”

No wonder the incisive Banda has unpacked this most worrying trend: “But this is not simply a case of the court thrusting itself into politics. It is a case of political parties demonising the courts even if there is no reason to.”

Indeed, officers of the court and other State institutions need to be protected from such wanton slander and defamation spewed by the likes of Mafume and Zvidzai.

12 Comments

  1. Janana Bikaz madhogodhogo

    Conwell Tutani is now the most barking Zanu pf apologist around.He has lost all the respect i had for him.He is now in the habit of demonising MDC Alliance at any given opportunity.Whaever the reasons he is doing that for,he has stooped so low and if he is not ashamed of his ‘see no evil,hear no evil from the Zanu pf mafia then he does not have anything between his legs.He is not a man.He has been cowed by the the mafia party into singing from their hym book.Or he is getting his filthy hands greased by the wicked mafia leaders.He has sold his soul for a few pieces of silver.I am not saying he should keep quiet when MDC leaders have erred,but he should also open his loose mouth when the mafia party leaders is dragging the whole country into mess waters.Besides MDC is not the party running the affairs of this country,so why venting your spitting your venom to the peoples party.Shame on you Tutani,shame on the place that you were born!

    1. Shame on you, Janana Bikaz Madhogodhogo, shame on the place you were born! This is to show you that you don’t have the monopoly to insult anyone like you are being misled by your stupid party. It’s not only your hands that are filthy, but your foul-smelling mouth too.

    2. janana Bikaz madhogodhogo, you’ve got a hell of name. With such a name, where were you born?

  2. an objective analysis .’

  3. Farai J Nhire

    Why attacking Conway? He is just expressing his views about a particular topic! What’s yours? Mdc alliance needs to realise the importance of adhering to rules and regulations if they are to lead this great nation. You can’t meaningfully demand legitimacy from Ed when you yourself are illegitimate. You want to be the leader of Mdca without being contested and even resort to violence to that end and you go on to accuse Mnangagwa of rigging elections when you yourself hate an election in your own party ! What kind of logic is that nhai machinja?

  4. You may crucify Tutani for highlighting his informed opinion but facts do not cease to exist because we ignore them.
    Inasmuch as you may try to defend Chamisa and his MDC party, he has to prove his commitment in obeying the law on the basics before convincing people to elect him to the top seat.
    Facts do not cease to exist because we ignore them.

  5. this tutani old fella is actually becoming a chituta…..he is wasting acres of space writing to demonise the peoples party for obviously a few pieces of silver.He now appears as a spin doctor for a failed regime. No amount of vitriol can change direction of the winds of change.

    1. Doug Murevi, why then do you bother to read what Tutani has written if he is wasting acres of space? No one is fooled by your comments designed to comfort yourself. You are trying to put a brave face by being dismissive of what Tutani has pointed out but inside you are really worried that the truth about the MDC that he is bringing out has changed the direction of what you call the winds of change.

  6. The writer’s nitpicking of points he is makes shows obvious bias. Be honest with yourself, whether you like it or not, the two main parties have reached a point they have risen above law. If the law was correctly followed to the book, none of the Zanu bigwigs will be free men today especially the president. When I saw the topic of your article, I expected a neutral valuation of the politics in Zimbabwe vs the law. You were merely slandering Mdc for the instances it had been caught on the wrong side of things. We can write a book of instances Zanu has been caught pants down too. Why did you not write about that too. You are acting as if this is an opposition party problem when Zanu has been setting precedents left and right for 40 years

  7. @Janana Bikaz madhogodhogo, a different opinion does not constitute a barking sound! Mr Tutani has made quite a number valid observations which no serious organization that hopes to be a governing party someday should never ever disregard. Why does the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa claim to be more democratic and more tolerant of dissenting voices than ZANU PF when it’s clearly flagrantly violating its own constitution? Why do they always paint esteemed members of the judiciary with a political brush whenever a ruling is made against their clearly silly and sickening ways?

  8. Its people like Janana Bhikazi Madhogodhogo who think that when MDCA loses its the Government. I used to support this party but have since left it because it has lost the vision. The party must go back to the founding principles of democracy. Well done Conwell Tutani for an objective analysis.

  9. REALITY CHECK

    Chamisa was highly overrated by his sycophants slightly before the election and therefore entered the race expecting nothing short of win.
    No wonder he has taken too long to tone down his ego long after the exercise was constitutionally concluded.
    Never underestimate the power of destructive leaders and susceptible followers in a conducive environment.

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