Zimbabweans woke up from their coronavirus slumber to read an ambiguous judgment designed to discredit Nelson Chamisa’s MDC-A presidency. The judgment, which was passed a few hours before April Fool’s Day by judges Bharat Patel, Paddington Garwe and Antonia Guvava, ignited blistering deliberations.
The content of the judgment is as confusing as its tone. As to how the judgment coincided with coronavirus lockdown and April Fool’s Day confirms the derision surrounding this issue. Misinterpretations, analyses and insights are flying back and forth as Zimbabweans try to make sense of this ”pandemic” judgment which many dismissed as Kurumen fulmen (meaningless).
Some could not resist the temptation of taking snap volleys at Chamisa, demanding his exodus from the MDC-T leadership. As to how he should leave a party that he is no longer a member is too preposterous to merit even a passing sneer. Some are conveniently calling Chamisa to respect the courts and do the honourable thing. None of them are unpacking the so-called honourable action? What should Chamisa do?
Shockingly, others expect Chamisa to submit himself to Thokozani Khupe and participate in an inevitable MDC-T extra-ordinary congress. Is the judgment ordering Chamisa to submit himself to another congress of the MDC which will be convened by a political pratogonist? Yes! The judgment literally nullified MDC-T’s congress, so an extraordinary one should be on the cards, since Khupe was rendered an acting president of her party.
Judging from social media exchanges and informal discussions I had with a cross-section of Zimbabweans, what came out is the fact that the elusive judgment disturbed the citizenry, leaving everyone more distressed by the economic meltdown and coronavirus pandemic.
The majority of sober-minded Zimbabweans who opted to interrogate the case are asking correct questions. Which party was in court between MDC-T and MDC-A? What everyone cannot run away from is the fact that the MDC-T leadership wrangle spilled into the courts.
The question is how then has that to do with MDC-A, a stand-alone party which is constitutionally defined outside Khupe’s party?
Chamisa ceased to be an MDC-T member and leader, so how is he supposed to submit himself to a party that he is not a member?
The judgment also seems to have blurred two political parties into one, which they preferred to call MDC. The only MDC party which existed was led by Welshman Ncube, which dissolved when it joined the MDC-Alliance prior to the 2018 elections.
The judgment is not taking judicial notice of political realities which crystallised in 2018 and 2019 when both MDC-T and MDC-A held separate congresses. The courts ignored what State organs accepted as reality. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission accepted and registered MDC-T and MDC-A as separate political parties they were allowed to contest the July 2018 elections.
Then there is another brigade that is outrageously calling for Chamisa to leave the MDC-A presidency. Why?
What has the “coronavirus judgment” to do with MDC-A? One would be pardoned for thinking that the judgment was purely limited to MDC-T and not any other political parties.
It would be understandable if this gang was asking for Chamisa to leave MDC-T leadership. Then the response would have been a clear reminder that Chamisa abandoned Khupe’s party long back.
Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi was the first to fire such an injudicious shot and was followed by other apparatus in the mould of Morgen Komichi and Douglas Mwonzora, who shall be immediately joining Khupe in the political wilderness. What immediately followed served to expose the objectives of the sponsors of the court case.
The case also exposed the sell-outs who came out of their closets ululating and gyrating before uhuru. State media outlets then followed by spewing and screaming all kinds of deceitful headlines displaying flagrant disregard of facts. The erudite Zimbabweans are, however, smart enough not to believe anything reported by the State media. The majority of Zimbabweans, however, came to terms with the fact that the judgment is purely academic as it was overtaken by events. The political contest was civically corrected by the MDC-A Gweru congress. The courts made a decision based on an expired set of claims brought before it by Political Actors Dialogue kingpin Lovemore Madhuku.
The judgment instantly jumpstarted gluttonous claims by MDC-T outfits. One wonders why they are bereft of any sophistication in concealing their intents and partners in this project of destabilising MDC-A. It is clear twaddle for anyone to expect the MDC-A leadership to register any party properties, if they are any, in the name of MDC-T. Attempts to deliver fatal blows have been stepped up. A false statement attributed to Chamisa was crafted and circulated in social media a few hours after the judgment. The statement falsely claimed that Chamisa was about to step down because of the judgment. Chamisa dismissed the statement as a hoax.
Calls are slowly gaining momentum for Parliament to pay MDC-T parliamentary funds meant for MDC-A. The Political Finance Act allows funding of political parties with more than 15 MPs from the national Treasury. MDC-T falls short of the minimum political threshold, while MDC-A is almost at par with the ruling Zanu PF. How does the judgment make MDC-A MPs to be MDC-T legislators? The level of desperation being displayed here serves to expose everything that is atrocious with this judgment.
The MDC-A leaders consistently sang from the same hymn book, maintaining that the judgment was not speaking to their party and will be ignored.
“It is of no effect at all. We will just ignore it and move on,” said the part vice-chairman Job Sikhala.
MDC vice-president Tendai Biti said they will read the judgment and shelve it.
A law eagle and vice-president of the party Welshman Ncube said: “Legally MDC-Alliance was not before the court and cannot be bound by a judgment to which it is not a party and which in any event is not directed at it. Politically, the people always decide. Period.”
Sibanengi Dube writes in his personal capacity.