Zimbabwe: 'Chamisa Wasting His Time'

Photo: The Herald
Bona Mugabe greets President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the inauguration ceremony.
29 August 2018

Legal experts yesterday described MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa's decision to take his case to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights as mere political grandstanding, as the move has no legal force or effect on Zimbabwe.

The decision by Mr Chamisa followed a Constitutional Court ruling that dismissed with costs his election challenge of the presidential election results in which he lost to Zanu-PF candidate President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the just-ended harmonised elections.

Midlands State University human rights law lecturer Mr Valentine Mutatu said the Constitutional Court's decision was final and there was no benefit that Mr Chamisa would derive for taking his case to the continental body.

"The Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe is the final court of appeal in all constitutional matters," he said. "In this case, it was the court of first and final instance. Taking the matter to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights will not take the alliance's case any further.

"That commission does not give a binding judgment. It only makes recommendations. If there is any benefit, which I doubt, it's just political. You will notice that MDC Alliance is clamouring for relevance after the loss in court. Taking the matter there will save its face."

Zanu-PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said ACHPR was a creature of the African Union and the continental body deployed election observers, which endorsed the poll as free, fair and credible.

"The MDC Alliance is merely (engaging in) political grandstanding," he said. "It will be recalled that the AU sent election observers and they endorsed the election. Besides, the Constitutional Court ruling is final and what this means is that the MDC Alliance is a bad loser."

Advocate Lewis Uriri, who represented Zanu-PF in the Concourt challenge, said the question that would arise was whether or not the ACHPR had jurisdiction to hear the petition.

"It is too early for us to comment on that until we have been furnished with the papers, that is when I can comment substantively," he said. "But the question here is whether or not the decisions of the body are binding.

"The other question is whether or not it has jurisdiction and if it is binding or merely advisory. In my view, this is just political grandstanding, but I will wait for them to file their papers then I will comment."

Another Harare lawyer and MDC-T deputy president, Mr Obert Gutu, said the decision was misdirected and ill-advised.

"Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and ACHPR will be reluctant to interfere with the Concourt ruling. This is a closed case," he said.

Mr Gutu described the petition as frivolous, vexatious and spurious.

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