Fidelis Munyoro Chief Reporter
Analysts have applauded the Bulawayo High Court for stopping MDC-Alliance demonstrations that had been set for today, saying the decision shows that the country’s judicial organs are alive to the need to uphold the rule of law.
Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that MDC-Alliance could not go ahead with the demonstrations after the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association, the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA), the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) and the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) yesterday approached the High Court on an urgent basis seeking an order prohibiting the opposition party from carrying out illegal demonstrations in the city.
Constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the MDC-Alliance should not cry foul over the court decisions as every litigant was equal before the law and enjoyed same rights enshrined in the Constitution.
“It must always be known to everyone that the exercise of rights granted by the Constitution must be with regard to the rights of others,” said Prof Madhuku, who is known for giving sober analysis and interpretation of the law.
“Every Zimbabwean has a right to approach the courts just as those who wish to demonstrate went to court. Those who are against the demonstrations have similar rights to approach the court. Once that happens the final decision lies with court.
“That is the fairest thing that can ever happen, that when two people are in dispute, an independent court must determine the matter. That is what is meant by the rule of law. There is no alternative to the rule of law.” He advised MDC to either appeal to the Supreme Court or defy the law if they think they are brave enough.
“The option that is there is to defy the law and face the consequences. I am sure no right thinking person will take that route at this point in time,” said Prof Madhuku.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps Ambassador Mawampanga Mwanananga said the latest court decision was proper in the circumstances.
“That’s one more proof that this country is well governed,” he said, adding: “The rule of law is supreme. It’s time for everyone to understand that.”
Dr Thokozani Khupe’s MDC rapped the Nelson Chamisa-led party, describing it as a terrorist organisation.
Said the party deputy president Mr Obert Gutu: “These so-called demonstrations are, in fact, a desperate and clueless move by a ragtag political organisation that is keen to take over State power using unconstitutional means. This is a terrorist organisation that has since been taken over by the vanquished G40 of Zanu-PF. In fact, this ragtag political formation should, henceforth, be described as MDC-G40.”
The firebrand lawyer said the planned demonstration, undoubtedly, was going to degenerate into wanton violence, thuggery and looting as has happened before.