EDITORIAL COMMENT : Everyone, bar one person, has accepted election results
As President Mnangagwa stressed yesterday at the Zanu PF Politburo meeting, the general elections for President, Parliament and local authorities are over for another five years, there will be no reruns, and everyone needs to get on with building Zimbabwe.
The only pressure for a rerun seems to come from Mr Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the main opposition party, the CCC, and the second placed Presidential candidate.
The CCC winners of Parliamentary seats all lined up to be sworn in and the CCC councillors have taken their seats in local authorities and, with one exception, have managed to elect CCC mayors of all municipal councils.
Gwanda shows the opposition that the CCC hold on urban authorities is not God-given, and that is reinforced by the larger contingents of Zanu PF councillors on most urban authorities and the thinner victory margins in a number of council and Parliamentary seats.
Urban voters are starting, slowly, to demand results from their continuing loyalty to the main opposition party.
Despite being a senior lawyer Mr Chamisa appears to have skipped reading the Constitution of Zimbabwe. This critical document does allow an election rerun but such a rerun can neither be ordered by the President nor by Parliament nor by any outside authority.
For the Presidential poll, any rerun can only occur by an order of a majority of the seven judges of the Constitutional Court, and even then only as one of the options after a successful electoral petition. No one else has the authority or the power. In any case Mr Chamisa did not go to court.
Mr Chamisa’s other not-so-bright idea, of a rerun organised by SADC, would require a major set of Constitutional amendments. The Constitution sets out how our elections are to be run, with the Electoral Act filling in the details, and there is no provision for non-Zimbabweans to run the elections.
The only election in colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwean history, and that includes the original election of the “non-official” members of the early colonial legislative council, that were run by an outside authority was the 1980 election organised under the Lancaster House agreement, and that required the “Zimbabwe Rhodesia” illegal Parliament to amend its constitution to delete the clause that made the country a sovereign independent state. This is because sovereign states run their own elections.
Despite attempts by Mr Chamisa, or someone very close to him, to pass the word around SADC before the official results that he had won with 51 percent of the vote, that wrong information was not accepted once the official results were announced. The incorrect information almost certainly has irritated even those SADC leaders who are reasonably friendly with Mr Chamisa.
All SADC leaders have accept the result of the elections, and all came themselves, sent their Vice President or sent a very senior minister to President Mnangagwa’s inauguration a few weeks ago.
At the same time the international community has accepted the results and even those countries that may have preferred a different result have resumed their contacts and talks with President Mnangagwa’s Government as the legitimate Government of Zimbabwe. They are there to deal with the realities, not make-believe dreams.
So internally, and externally, there is universal acceptance of the results and the continuing policy of the Government to stay in contact with everyone, regardless of who they are, continues to bear fruit and is slowly eating away the sanctions of some. The European Union, for example, has now dropped just about all sanctions and has very largely normalised all relations.
Recently Mr Chamisa received some very useful advice from a senior member of the Society of Jesus, Fr Fidelis Mukonori, one of the small group of Jesuits who has done his stint of a three-year non-renewable term as the Father Provincial of the Zimbabwe Jesuit Province, and someone who does maintain an interest in Zimbabwean political systems and has very good contacts in those systems, although declines to take sides.
The advice was to accept the results and move on, starting with an approach to President Mnangagwa.
The President has shown in the past that he is not opposed to having discussions with the leader of the opposition, although it would be easier if Mr Chamisa, as we have suggested before, arranged a by-election in a suitable constituency to enter Parliament, where the top opposition politician needs to be.
But the important point in such contacts is to accept the results, but once that has been done then obviously the leader of the second largest political party has a certain standing.
As we have also noted there is the Polad option, and while all members of that forum are in theory equal it is also obvious that the President and the main opposition challenger would have weightier voices.
There is something rather childish in refusing to accept the results of an election, the sort of thing one expects from small children who refuse to play with others unless they are chosen as the king.
This is understandable in small children, although regrettable, but does not befit a middle-aged politician with political clout and ambitions.
Mr Chamisa has two options. He can continue to cruise the outer darkness whining and crying, or he can become relevant by involving himself in the political systems by admitting that he won a lot of votes but not enough to win.
He also needs to remember that despite trying to centre his somewhat informal political group on himself, even to the extent of using his portrait as the CCC electoral symbol, there is nothing to stop others in that grouping of formalising the group as a proper political party and finding a candidate who they think can win an election. Two failures is quite a burden.
But meanwhile, as President Mnangagwa made crystal clear, no one is going to wait on Mr Chamisa. The new Government is in place, the Cabinet and the deputy ministers have been sworn in, the instructions to get the country moving forward have been given.
At the same time all those mayors have been making the appropriate noises that they need to push ahead on fixing their cities and towns, and are looking to the future not the past, even if the past was last month.
Everyone else in Zimbabwe is moving forward, making contact with their Government and their local authority and expecting both to deliver, and keen to interact with those who provide the services they need so as to get the best services and have the best policies. This is how the real world works, and quite rightly too.