Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Wednesday court judgment: Legal complex & political narrative

21 Oct 2019 at 17:31hrs | Views
(Balanced views)

What you need to understand is that intellectual capacity is a key component in political strategy. Politics is not only a game of numbers, it requires strategic intelligence to deal with an opponent, and it is important to remain strategic whether it is ruling party or opposition. Numbers on your side is not enough in such an elusive environment. Political strategy. 24 hours is long in politics, it involves scheming, retreating and taking a back seat or either going back to the drawing board. I have always argued that winning power and winning elections is separate entity. Winning elections involves a lot of investment. From my political and legal perspective and narrative point of view, it is high likely that Khupe the former MDC T Deputy President is likely to carry the day. I have been following the case with keen interest and my own assessment it has both political and legal narratives on it. You cannot claim electoral victory with numbers only, you need practical intelligence which is an investment on its own and it requires human resources and strategy.  At the backyard of politics, Khupe was strategizing on how to bounce back on the political limelight. It is indisputable that Nelson Chamisa has numbers on his side and he has a huge following but however all eyes are on numbers instead of political and economic implications. This is where political narratives comes into picture. The question on numbers is clear, Nelson Chamisa has numbers on his side, and Khupe managed to get overall 50 000 votes only countrywide, but the question remains on the implications of the matter. Off course some of the issues raised were overtaken by events like the elective congress and the 2018 elections. However Khupe would want to raise the legitimacy tag which she will use to fight Nelson Chamisa. I would like to assume, this issue is well timed, and they want to weaken MDC ahead of crucial dialogue. The idea would be to legitimize Khupe's presidency ahead of talks and parade her as the legitimate President of the MDC.

Legal & Political Narrative

What you need to take note is that the court challenge is not about who has huge following in opposition politics but it's about challenging the Presidency which Khupe claims Chamisa ascended to power in an unprecedented way. From my own analysis Khupe wants to prove beyond reproach that though she lost dismally to Nelson Chamisa in the run up to 2018 elections, but she still holds keys to legitimacy. Zanu PF is already using this case as a political dividend, diverting people's attention from the current economic turmoil to the current court fiasco. This case is likely to drag for long in courts battling out on key issues:

1.    Legitimacy
2.    Supremacy
3.    Party assets
4.    The name issue
5.    Parliamentary, senate & council representations

What this means is that this will also give Zanu PF lifeline apparently because MDC led by Chamisa was giving them torrid and hard time ranging from political and economic wars. There will be a little diversion whilst they try to scratch their heads on the way forward. Whilst many people have dismissed this case, citing lack of merit, I stand to differ, there is likely to be more drama in courts. What Zanu PF wants to achieve is the question of legitimacy on "Chamisa's Presidency". They want to prove to the world that Chamisa cannot claim to have won elections yet he is not legitimate. Their core business is that they will use this case to argue on dialogue over legitimacy questions. This is simple mathematics, the issue of legitimacy was hovering over ED and his party, and they would want to ensure that it also spills to the MDC Led by Nelson Chamisa.

Zanu PF is aware that Nelson Chamisa has a huge following and they are also aware that despite the outcome, a huge chunk of followers will go with Chamisa, however, the question is not on the following but on the legitimacy question which the courts will display. Legally this case has a potential to spark tension within the MDC movement regarding the legality processes and the directives of the courts after the judgment. In the event that MDC appeals to the Supreme Court, it is high unlikely that the judgment will be in favour of them. Courts can also be used to pursue a political agenda. The idea is to use this case to argue the legitimacy question, which then they will use to drive or wedge a war against Nelson Chamisa in the run up to 2023 elections. Propaganda machinery will be activated to raise the legitimacy question. In the event that MDC T led by Thokozani Khupe wins the case, the outcome will be used to weaken the Chamisa led MDC financially by grabbing assets and party properties. This will cause confusion within the movement, and ensure they will go to 2023 financially weak.

Mnangagwa is already preparing for 2023, and he wants to make sure that he goes with a divided opposition which is financially weak. The only possible threat to ED's presidency is Nelson Chamisa and legal narrative will be pursued to weaken the party ahead of the watershed harmonized elections.

In politics you must invest in intellectual Labour

What you need to understand is that Zanu PF does not narrowly lose elections "TWICE' OR CONSECUTIVELY or to say Zanu PF does not lose twice. You need to study what is called comparative politics, which is a combination of intellectual capacity and politics. You need to master the art of intelligence and political strategy. You don't need necessarily to be a cry baby over spilled milk. I want to give a good example of Michael Sata, who took over from Rupiah Banda of MMD, how Sata invested in intellectual labour which made him to get State power. You don't get State power on a silver plate, rather there are a lot of things evolved around the issue of ascendancy to power.

Thinking and planning ahead is key in politics

Politics requires strategy and you must always be ahead of others in terms of thinking. You must not be taken by surprise. Basically what I'm simply saying is that any successful politician invest in intellectual capacity to deal with an opponent. Ruling Governments have managed to invest in political intelligence by infiltration, strategy, comparative analysis, research, development, human resource, spin doctors and hardliners.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the Head of Global Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (GIPAR), and he is also a leading consultant in Project Management. He holds a B.A (Solusi University), MA (University of Lusaka, Zambia), Post grad certificate in Project Management (University of Zimbabwe) B. Science Development Candidate (Zimbabwe Open University) and D.Phil Candidate from Women's University of Africa and he can be contacted at

Source - Academic Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Get latest news by email: