After a month of political drama‚ the Zimbabwean Constitutional Court will‚ this afternoon‚ set the next chapter in Zimbabwe’s political cycle with its ruling on the MDC Alliance’s challenge of president elect Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu PF’s narrow 30 July victory.
By close of business on Wednesday‚ after all parties’ defence lawyers had taken to the stand in a televised trial‚ ordinary Zimbabweans were left with mixed reactions.
For Mavis Sibanda‚ a vendor in Harare‚ the period leading to the court challenge proved that politics is an elitist affair and the outcome of the court challenge won’t change the status quo.
“I don’t see (Nelson) Chamisa winning or even getting a rerun. We will go back to suffering‚ but not to say even if Chamisa‚ by some miracle‚ is declared president things will change for the better. As such‚ I am not holding my breath for anything because‚ after this‚ political leaders will remain as they are‚” she said.
The mood for some was further dampened by Mnangagwa’s deputy‚ retired general Constantino Chiwenga‚ who told a gathering on Thursday that nothing will change.
“Some of us no longer want to hear about elections. Elections are behind us. Nothing is going to change‚” Chiwenga said.
Animator Thabani Moyoan said the MDC Alliance court challenge failed to live up to its hype.
“They held numerous press conferences telling us that they had overwhelming evidence against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and Zanu PF. They even said they had a secret weapon‚ but in my view‚ they wasted our time giving us hope‚” he said.
Early in the week‚ the MDC Alliance’s Chamisa said before plotting the next move his grouping would first analyse the outcome.
But despite the Southern African Development Community (SADC) urging Zimbabweans to act peacefully as they await the court ruling‚ the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is leaving nothing to chance.
In the country’s major cities‚ particularly the capital Harare and second-largest city Bulawayo‚ there is notable police presence on the streets and around key buildings that house strategic government departments and big private enterprises such as supermarkets and banks.
However‚ the military is nowhere to be seen after its open-handedness was laid bare after the presidential election results were announced on August 1‚ leading to violent clashes that left at least six dead.
The third-largest city‚ Gweru‚ has a different headache - a typhoid outbreak that has seen more than nine deaths and 1 500 cases reported.
Local teacher George Tshuma blames the outbreak on a leadership vacuum.
“The country is on autopilot and I hope the matter will be settled with a final judgment in the presidential court challenge. We don’t have councillors‚ let alone a substantive minister of health to issue directives‚” he said.
On Wednesday‚ there were running battles between the police and vendors in Gweru. The police were unleashed to disburse the vendors‚ who are accused of being the source of typhoid.
In his electoral petition‚ Chamisa sought to get Mnangagwa’s 50.8% poll victory‚ later revised by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to 50.67% and‚ lastly 50.6%‚ nullified.