Ecumenical church groups and the civil society of Zimbabwe have jointly released a statement in which they demand judiciary independence in the pending Constitutional Court Case where the MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is challenging the July 30 presidential election which gave incumbent President E.D. Mnangagwa a 50, 8 per cent of the overall votes.
Addressing members of the media on Thursday afternoon at Media Centre in Harare, delegates from the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD), United Citizens Alliance, War Veterans Peace Initiative Forum (WVPIF) and Zimbabwe Prayer Network (ZPN) blamed ZEC chairperson Justice Chigumba for the current unnecessary political mess that has led to the killing of innocent civilians by trigger-happy soldiers, saying she was arrogant and unaccommodating to very pertinent concerns.
Here is their full statement:
The Civic Society in conjunction with the Church would like to express its deep concerns over the unfolding events in our nation, particularly in the body politic. It started with the pre-election period characterised by complaints and a lot of bickering over ZEC’s inability to deliver a free and fair, non-contestable election result, the voting process that at face value appeared free and fair, the demonstrations by dissatisfied citizens over election results and the subsequent shooting of about 7 civilians by the army to the election dispute now under consideration in the constitutional court, are some of the sad developments that besiege our beleaguered nation Zimbabwe.
The 2018 election under serious dispute in the constitutional court is a result of the intransigence and ineptitude of the Electoral board particularly its chairperson who did not take heed at warnings flagged by contesting parties early enough. The MDC Alliance has disputed the ZEC results which gave victory to Zanu-PF’s ED Mnangagwa and we hold Justice P. Makanyara Chigumba accountable and responsible for this unnecessary political mess that has even led to the killing of innocent civilians by trigger-happy soldiers of the ZNA. There was abundant evidence from the onset that the issues raised by many opposition parties pointed to a very contentious election outcome but she was arrogant and unaccommodating to very pertinent concerns.
Now we have a dispute in the Constitutional Court arising largely from ZEC’s incompetence to play the impartial referee. Nevertheless, the nation looks forward to the judiciary, the third most powerful arm of the state to pick up the pieces, weigh the matter as judiciously as they can, bearing in mind above all, there is God in heaven, the first and Greater Judge is watching. We exhort the 12 judges currently seized with this matter to brook no interference from any quarter be it the executive with its long tentacles nor the opposition or anyone for that matter. This is particularly so given that recently the ED Mnangagwa intimated that he had given some instructions presumably to the courts in the raging Mr T Biti case, a position the nation deemed as clear interference with the independence of the judiciary.
We, therefore, in the same breadth would like to warn and urge President-Elect Cde ED Mnangagwa to uphold the sanctity of the separation of powers and allow the courts’ unfettered freedom to adjudicate without fear of any reprisals nor threat from those in power.
We want the constitutional court judges to know that they are the last frontier in the quest for true democracy and that you hold the nation’s hopes, therefore, do it for the love of Zimbabwe and not for power mongers from any of the political divides. We also would like the bench, the chief justice and his team that, much like what Justice Priscilla Chigumba did, the constitutional court’s determination has all the ingredients of peace or instability.
We also want to put it on record that our once esteemed army whom we celebrated with on November 17 2017, has let the nation down. To date, we shudder to think how a trained soldier can crouch to take aim at unarmed civilians. We still demand answers from those who love to be referred as Commanders in Chief, Commander Generals, VP cum Ministers of Defence, to say is this in keeping with the Oath any of you undertook upon swearing into office. Spare us this blame-shifting gibberish political football games where none of you takes responsibility over wanton killing of innocent civilians! What kind of leaders are you? You have no shame nor compassion towards your own people. Other countries protect their own citizens, but here you kill at the slightest of misunderstanding! What happened to the ideals of the liberation struggle? We want you to know that as sure as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, time will come for some of you to account for these wanton murders. The nation cannot continue to experience murder and massacres with no one accounting for these crimes against humanity.
To President ED Mnangagwa, it is important to stress that you have not exhibited any departure from your predecessor in terms of fascism and repression. We say hands off form restraining peoples’ civil liberties! The nation takes no pleasure in leaders who indicate right but instead turn left. You rose through a coup on pretext you were going to usher in a new era of freedom and tolerance but you doing exactly the opposite. There was no need absolutely to call on the army as the police were coping with the situation.
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