Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday warned that if he fails to win his case against President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) this week, he will turn to the people to defend “their vote”.
This comes after the youthful MDC Alliance leader challenged ordinary Zimbabweans at the weekend to embark on three days of fasting — in preparation for tomorrow’s closely-watched Con-Court hearing.
Addressing journalists at the Morgan Tsvangirai House in Harare yesterday, Chamisa warned that if the legal route failed him, he would mobilise Zimbabweans to “defend their vote”.
“We have all routes that are available, the legal and the constitutional routes. Beyond those, we have a political route that we are going to pursue in the context of peace and the Constitution.
“We will mobilise and organise the people of Zimbabwe to make sure that their vote is protected and guaranteed. Our first avenue is the legal route and the second avenue is the political route.
“We have to stand with our God to defend our vote within the confines of peace … change does not come easy,” Chamisa said.
“We do not want to go back to the situation where we are made to wait for another five years by those who are seeking to subvert your will.
“The darkest hour is before dawn and our Almighty is on our side. This candidate (Chamisa) is ready to assume office at the appropriate time,” Chamisa added.
“Mnangagwa was defeated in this election. There is totally no confidence in Zanu PF and Mnangagwa. We will, together as a nation, agree on a working programme for the total fulfilment of our vote.
“We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by anyone from anywhere. We are the masters of our own destiny. We are our own liberators,” he said further.
Chamisa has challenged Mnangagwa’s July 30 poll victory, culminating in tomorrow’s hearing by the Con-Court which has the arduous task of either upholding or nullifying the result.
He is seeking to either have the presidential election declared as null and void, or to be affirmed as the rightful winner of that poll. Alternatively, he wants a fresh presidential race to be held.
The court case comes after Zimbabwe held its first ever post-independence elections three weeks ago without deposed former leader Robert Mugabe — who resigned from office in November last year on the back of a military intervention.
Millions of Zimbabweans cast their vote in the historic July 30 elections, to choose both a new Parliament and president — following the dramatic fall from power of Robert Mugabe.
The elections also marked the first time that the main opposition MDC was not represented by its founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost his brave battle with cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day this year.
Zanu PF retained its two thirds parliamentary majority in the plebiscite.
However, the peaceful campaigns and a camaraderie spirit that had characterised the run-up to the elections were sullied in the aftermath of the polls when deadly violence broke out in Harare’s central business district (CBD), following a clash between opposition supporters and security agents.
At least six people subsequently died when the army used live ammunition to break the ugly protests.
Yesterday, Chamisa warned that the country would — without him at the helm — slip back to the 2008 era where Zimbabwe’s own currency was decimated by record hyperinflation, when the economy imploded due to Mugabe’s misrule.
“Even in that case, if we don’t do it now, there is no guarantee that if we win again in 2023 those that are seeking to subvert your will are not planning to do it again.
“In the interest of our country, its people and the economy, Zec must accept that it has played a divisive role in our politics. What was a clear and unambiguous victory has been muddied by partisan individuals in Zec,” Chamisa said.
He also said that Mnangagwa should step down and resist fomenting the stereotype that “African strongmen never want to leave power after an election”.
“He must take this opportunity to negotiate a respectable exit and leave peacefully. An unnecessary and protracted battle will not benefit Zanu PF in the medium to long term.
“To the international community, the road to the future of Zimbabwe, the rule of law, good governance and observance of human rights passes through a fresh pair of hands and genuine alternative politics,” Chamisa added.
The opposition leader has insisted that he won the hotly-disputed July 30 presidential poll — whose results he claims were fiddled with by Zec.
In the disputed presidential vote, Mnangagwa narrowly avoided a run-off after polling 50,8 percent of the ballot against Chamisa’s 44,3 percent.
Zec has, however, since revised downwards Mnangagwa’s victory to 50,6 percent.
At law, a losing presidential candidate has seven days to challenge results, with the Con-Court obliged to make its findings and to deliver a verdict within 14 days after that.
If the Constitutional Court upholds the election result, Mnangagwa must then be sworn in within 48 hours of the court’s decision.
In determining the petition or application, the Con-Court may declare a winner or invalidate the election — in which case a fresh election will have to be held within 60 days after the determination.
Meanwhile, and ahead of the Con-Court hearing tomorrow, Chamisa exhorted Zimbabweans at the weekend to go on a fast for three days.
“I am urging the whole nation to pray. Let us go before God so that he may help us, we don’t want the spilling of blood.
“We want to make the country better for all. The country does not belong to Zanu PF, the MDC or any other political party.
“It is for all of us. So, we want everyone to understand that when we unite, we are doing this for the whole country.
“May God bless you. Starting on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s time for prayer, everything is in God’s hands.
“The whole world belongs to God. I want to congratulate and thank you for taking part in the voting process,” Chamisa said in a video taken while he was praying on a mountain in Murewa.