Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa has kept President Emmerson Mnangagwa guessing about his next move by not filing a Constitutional Court challenge against the Zanu-PF leader’s disputed election victory.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on August 23 declared Mnangagwa the winner of the disputed presidential election with 52.6% of the vote against Chamisa’s 44%.
Chamisa rejected the results as a gigantic fraud and his CCC party says it is pushing for a fresh election.
Foreign observers, including a mission from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), said the election did not meet regional and international standards as a result of many shortcomings.
Chamisa has up to tomorrow to file a petition at the ConCourt, but the government is already planning for Mnangagwa’s inauguration tomorrow at the giant National Sports Stadium.
Some of the foreign delegates invited for the inauguration that include Kenya President William Ruto’s representative Musaila Mudavadi will start arriving in Harare today.
CCC insiders said the petition was finalised early last week but there was no consensus in the party to go the legal route as there was a strong belief in some quarters that it would be a futile exercise given the outcome of court cases lodged by the opposition in the run-up to the elections,
CCC only won one case out of a number of them after it stopped the disqualification of its 12 parliamentary candidates in Bulawayo by the High Court on the grounds that they filed their nomination papers after the deadline.
There were indications that Chamisa’s petition would be filed yesterday, but CCC lawyers told this publication that they had not been given instructions to approach the ConCourt.
“I have no instructions on the petition,” CCC lawyer Jeremiah Bamu said when contacted for comment.
Another CCC lawyer who participated in the 2018 ConCourt challenge Thabani Mpofu could not be reached for comment, but he had been posting messages on social media indicating that Chamisa was leaving his legal options open.
On Friday, CCC spokesperson Promise Mkhwananzi could not give a definite answer on whether they would challenge the results in court.
“We are following a multi-pronged approach considering all the options available to us from legal, political, diplomatic and so forth,” Mkhwananzi said.
On Friday, CCC party legal affairs secretary Innocent Gonese could also neither confirm nor deny that his party would approach the courts to challenge the presidential election results.
Bulawayo-based lawyer Dumisani Dube said Chamisa had up to tomorrow to file his court challenge.
“There is still up to Monday for them to file the court application challenging the election outcome,” Dube said.
“Once the application has been filed, the Chief Justice cannot proceed with the swearing-in of the president-elect until the matter has been finalised.”
However, lawyer Tondera Bhatasara said: “The coronation of the emperor will not be stopped even if they file.”
Academic Ibbo Mandaza said Mnangagwa’s swearing-in ceremony had to be stopped.
“I cannot decide that, I believe that it cannot go ahead constitutionally or statutorily because due processes have not been done,” Mandaza said.
Mandaza and researcher Tony Reeler on Friday petitioned the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security to help push for an inclusive transitional government to end the political stalemate in Zimbabwe.
“(The election) raises the same kind of problem as in 2008 where given the mess around 2008 elections Mugabe was inaugurated midnight and then picked up by (former South African president) Mbeki for negotiations at African Union.
“There are feelings in some quarters that Mnangagwa wants to do the same to try and pre-empt the obvious negotiations that should follow given the disputed elections.”
In 2018, the ConCourt dismissed Chamisa’s court challenge against Mnangagwa’s disputed victory, saying he did not table evidence of rigging.
Source – The Standard