By Isadore Guvamombe
At a rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday, MDC-Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa insisted his party would not follow the legal route to seek redress of his electoral demands, but would, instead, take the law into his own hands and use the public court of justice.
The public court of justice is his rowdy brigade of youths, the so-called Vanguard, known for their violent behaviour within and outside the party and he would want them to camp at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices and stop the election from proceeding.
“I will not go that route (court). We will go to the people and we will discuss the issue on the court of public opinion. Let the people decide . . . What we used to do at university (violence) we will do it 10 times.
Well, this is pure political mischief. It is irresponsible behaviour and shows lack of political maturity and tact.
This is the Jonas Savimbi kind of politics. The “Me and Only Me” mantra (Ndini Chete) has dangerous consequences. Such a mentality can trigger untold conflict in a country that is trying to move on. For those who might not know Jonas Savimbi, he was an arrogant Angolan politician and warlord who disregarded the law and plunged his country into untold civil war. He died by that kind of politics.
It was a sad ending, which could have been avoided. The war also ended with him.
No Pan Entendre!
While Chamisa, who apparently read law, ranted insouciantly about avoiding legal recourse, SADC and the The Elders, were trying to bring sanity into the body politic of Zimbabwe to avoid “unreasonable demands” or unintended dangerous consequences.
Chamisa must read that language; it is very diplomatic.
Zimbabwe does not operate in isolation and Chamisa must remember that he needs the region and the international community. He needs to be strategically correct in his approach and stop childish behaviour which could plunge the country into turmoil.
sadc and The Elders are asking all political parties in Zimbabwe to behave responsibly and to simply follow the law that guides elections, and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission itself to stick to its legal mandate.
In the case of sadc, there are election guidelines adopted on July 20, 2015 in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.
Any sections 4.1.3, Countries should “Ensure that the date or period of elections is prescribed by law. The date or period of elections shall be based upon the legal framework and applicable Constitutional provisions;”
This should be read together with Section 4.1.4 “Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent corruption, bribery, favouritism, political violence, intolerance and intimidation;
And section 4.1.5 “Promote and respect the values of electoral justice which include integrity, impartiality, fairness; professionalism, efficiency and regularity of elections;
Again section 4.1.9 reads “Uphold and guarantee the impartiality and independence of the Judiciary, the electoral management bodies (EMBs) and all other electoral institutions;
Section 4.1.11 speaks to “Ensure the adherence to a binding electoral code of conduct;” The sadc guidelines even make it clear that political parties should accept results in section 4.1.12 “Ensure the acceptance of the election results by all electoral stakeholders as proclaimed to have been free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful by the competent and independent national electoral authorities in accordance with the respective laws of the land.”
The problem with Chamisa’s cadence for political mischief is that he is rubbishing all and isolating himself as a political player.
But politics is wider and more sophisticated than that.
I have no business lecturing to him about how ZEC commissioners were chosen. He was there.
The other problem is about his intelligence and inability to read the politics. Chamisa was in the National Assembly since 2002, but I will only talk about the last five years.
The Electoral Act he seeks to violate today is what he should have worked on reforming while time was still there. It cannot be changed right now simply to suit him. What the hell was he doing in the last Parliament and not seeking to change the electoral law on time?
Suffice to say the electoral law cannot be changed specifically to suit his political outfit. Obviously, he is sensing defeat and like what Karitundundu, the ageless autochthon of wisdom and knowledge would say, courage is proportional to distance.
Chamisa has lost the courage of winning and is now playing tricks to stop the election.