The incumbent MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has frowned upon spreading hate language against judges on social media. This follows attacks on Justice Edith Mushore after she made a ruling which nullified Chamisa’s presidency in the MDC. Mwonzora was speaking to Obey Manayiti (OM), the Standard senior reporter. Below are excerpts from the interview:
OM: What is your view on the recent High Court judgment in the MDC leadership case where the party has been ordered to go to an extraordinary congress?
DM: What is important at this point in time is not individual views about the judgement. What is important is that a judgement exists and that as a responsible leadership we have to do something about it. There are two choices, either the judgement is complied with or that there is an appeal. When we held the standing committee meeting, it was directed that there be an appeal, so that is the collective decision. Individual decisions don’t matter anymore.
OM: Do you see the judgment as a threat to the future of the MDC or as an opportunity to correct mistakes made in the past?
DM: Well, there are certain things that we have learnt from this judgement. As a lawyer myself, I am not satisfied at the manner in which this matter was handled by our own representative. In my view, this is an indication that there is need for more internal dialogue within the party. There was absolutely no need to get to this stage. In other words, what is happening now was avoidable, we could have been more vigilant.
OM: Other senior MDC members have dismissed the judgement as “empty thunder” or interference by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government. Do you share similar sentiments?
DM: I am not sure as to whether Justice Edith Mushore was interfered with at all and I will not be in a position to comment on that. However, as an officer of the court myself, I am not very comfortable with spreading hate language against judges in the media or social media. I think judges still need to be respected. Respecting the judiciary does not necessarily mean agreeing with their judgements, but I think it is wrong for anyone to demonise judges. However, it is permissible to disagree with judgements wherever people feel that the judgement is not fair. I do not have evidence, as an officer of the court, of interference.
OM: Do you think the judgement is enforceable at the moment considering also that you are at an advanced stage of preparing for next week’s congress?
DM: I have not applied my mind to it. I think the lawyers who are handling the matter are better placed to comment on whether or not it is enforceable.
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