The appeal at the Supreme Court in which the MDC is challenging an order of court requiring it to hold an extraordinary congress, has returned interesting new facts about the case. It reveals a globally unprecedented reality suggesting that the Junta-inspired government has captured the courts to safeguard its interests and that of its proxies.
We are aware of the perils of the situation if indeed, as this case reveals, the judiciary is not free but fully captured. As a result of this reality our lawyers and any legal processes are not likely to provide us with enough reprieve. Because of the capture, it is here and now that the legal processes end and political communications begin. The courts seem willing to play in the field of politics thus, the total and final arbitrator in the questions being raised by the Khupe and ZANU PF inspired click, must be the members of the MDC and the People of Zimbabwe. They must speak very loudly about the presidency of the MDC, as led by President Nelson Chamisa, just as they have emphatically done in the last 1.5 years.
Every sign that we have seen thus far in this case shows beyond reasonable doubt that the courts will be preparing to declare Khupe the president of the MDC. This will certainly be against believed and lived realities on the matter. But not to worry, there is nothing new there. Remember that this is the court that has a history of saying that numbers do not matter only facts do. As if numbers cannot be facts. Remember, again that this is the same court that has now allowed Khupe to join a legal process late in the game, against the spirit of justice and consistency. Remember, repeatedly, but this is the same court that has not produced its written reasoning as to the judgment it made in favour of Mnangagwa in the electoral petition raised by President Chamisa.
The reality of the matter is that the MDC is a voluntary organisation that can decide, as it pleases, who its leader is, while following its laid down statutes or its constitution. Let us be clear, as of today, the MDC has an extremely popular and charismatic leader, widely loved by party membership and supporters. Yet Zanu PF is ashamed of its leader’s posture and ability. An MDC Congress attended by over 6000 members of the party’s political structures elected President Chamisa.
Another material fact that exposes the absurdity of any claim to the presidency of the MDC by anything or anyone, is the mere fact that Khupe herself has already held her own congress. This was what the High Court ordered redone. As if that is not enough the MDC took part in a national election. In that national election President Nelson Chamisa topped the numbers of votes ever received by anyone in Zimbabwe’s political electoral history.
Now after having looked at these facts and leaving realities it is important then to look at why any decision to upend the presidency of the MDC is both impractical and to a significant extent unreasonable. Think of it, the MDC is in the business of trying to win elections then form a government to move our country forward. As such, the members of the MDC, or any political organisation, will always train themselves to elect their leader based on their popularity and ability to command the respect and support of most Zimbabweans. Given therefore, President Nelson Chamisa’s electoral numbers in last year’s national elections, it would be absurd for anyone to imagine that, there exists any chance that the wishes of the MDC millions are well saved by any presidency other than that of President Chamisa. Why would anyone or any organisation that is in the business of politics, elect anybody who could hardly make 50,000 votes in the whole country, when it has a candidate who topped 2,000,000 votes? Clearly the attempt to upend that reality is nothing more than a classic case of mischief.
Given the accusation that Zimbabwean courts are acting as key strategic political players for the incumbent. This case is a classic example of obvious political bias. At this rate, these courts may never gain any credibility or trust from the people of Zimbabwe. It is important for the courts in this country to begin to run their affairs in a manner that shows the country, that it has credible institutions. It is necessarily important for the courts to understand that no one in their right mind will see a decision to remove such a popular leader as either reasonable or concerned with any pretension of being realistic. It may be well that the court would want to sustain a narrow definition of its function, as that of making sure that it can use the law to prop up Zanu PF and to protect Mr Mnangagwa from President Chamisa. However, the people of Zimbabwe will see through this and they will never forget.
The people of Zimbabwe know that this case has little to do with Madam Khupe but has everything to do with an attempt to safeguard Mr Mnangagwa’s political ambitions and future by attempting to destabilise President Chamisa. This is an exercise in futility. Firstly, in the sense that no one will ever believe it and take it seriously. Secondly, because everybody already knows that the courts would be making a political posture towards Mnangagwa and not even in favour of Khupe.
Given the above, there will be positive takeaways from this court process for as long as it is biased. That is the fact that, if there was anybody who had any doubts about the capture of our courts by the Junta-guided government, this will bury that doubt for eternity. With this decision, the pretention that the court were neutral arbitrators when they ratified the election of Mnangagwa is now clear folly, as argued by MDC. It will be yet another bitter taste of reality, which will once and for all, ratify the convention that Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court is captured and that indeed the MDC was correct in a setting that its decision to side with Mnangagwa in the election petition was predetermined by the Junta-inspired government and that the Courts do not enjoy any independence or academic freedom.
There is no leadership question in the MDC and to suggest that is to self-delude. After an uncontested, successful and widely popular congress, nothing could be clearer and definite. The congress was an emphatic and unmistakable voice of the millions of members and supporters of President Chamisa. The members of the MDC did not mince their words in their support and demand that President Nelson Chamisa lead them to a New and Great Zimbabwe. Thus, President Chamisa’s election was unchallenged and unanimous and this is the only proper context necessary to understand why challenging his election is a no brainer.
President Chamisa is the singular most prolific and popular Zimbabwean to have come out of the opposition and to have ever graced our country. Which explains why the Supreme Court is participating in this second attempt to still his victory. Last year it silenced the voices and hopes of millions of Zimbabweans that voted for President Chamisa. This is undoubtably a serious act of extreme desperation for the Supreme Court if it were, once again, be forced to attempt to silence the same millions of voices, that demanded President Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC.
However, be rest assured that no number of legal shenanigans will ever be enough to change certain realities. Regardless, the people of Zimbabwe and members of the MDC will have the leader they want. They will have the leader they voted for. They will have their President Chamisa because that is their voluntary will.
Dr Nkululeko Sibanda
MDC Presidential Spokesperson
20 October 2019