While denying his infamous statement in which he said the ruling party will use other means to retain power if they lose elections, Deputy Defense Minister Victor Matemadansa said his statements were not an incitement to commit public violence Newsday reports. Matemadanda rather said his statement meant Zanu PF would consider other means of retaining power like litigation, dialogue and or forming a transitional government.
The matter came to light after Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) took Matemadanda to court for demeaning public elections and contravening the Electoral Act.
In his answering affidavit submitted at the High Court, Matemadanda submitted that:
The statement that is the basis of this application, if interpreted by a reasonable person, is by no means a threat of violence. Clearly, I stated that “if elections fail”, which is a real possibility in any society, then other means necessary would be employed. However, this does not mean that I do not believe in elections for that would make my position as the political commissar redundant, given that my main task is to mobilise and campaign for the support of the electorate.
I meant any means necessary within the confines of the law. These means may include dialogue, litigation, transitional government or the tried and tested government of national unity. It is, therefore, surprising how the applicant has interpreted the statement ‘any means necessary’ as a synonym of violence, which is wrong and this honourable court should dismiss it as such
Meanwhile, ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba on the same issue argued that the case should be dismissed due to a technicality. In her opposing affidavit Chigumba said:
The applicant has no locus standi to approach the court for the relief sought in this matter. The issue pursued by the applicant, that of intimidation of voters, is a matter that speaks to and ought to be pursued by individual voters who, in consequence of the words attributed to Matemadanda, have suffered intimidation as defined by the Electoral Act