Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source (the “tree“) of the evidence or evidence itself is tainted, then anything gained (the “fruit“) from it is tainted as well.
In my view, this metaphor is apt to describe the guiding principle that should at the very least be considered in making a decision on the current MDC Electoral Court Challenge which will be delivered on the 24th of August at 2pm.
The Court’s Approach
Firstly, I would like to thank the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Government of Zimbabwe for providing a Live Stream of the Constitutional Court hearing…It may be a small token to some, but in my view, the fact that the Government is willing to broadcast the Court proceedings Live is indicative of a new level of Transparency in Zimbabwe and bodes well for the future.
At the outset, its important to appreciate that the ZANU (PF) Candidate has as much right to be heard as the contender, Nelson Chamisa.
There appears to be a misconception that by the Courts simply entertaining arguments in Mnangwagwa’s favour and grilling MDC’s Counsel on their submissions there is already an indication of some kind of ‘bias’ on the part of the Judges.
Nothing could be further from the truth, a just decision in this matter involves the due consideration of the submissions made by both sides, and it would be contradictory for those who purport to be in favour of democracy to suggest that somehow the right to be properly heard belongs exclusively to Nelson Chamisa as if the outcome of the Court’s decision is a foregone conclusion.
This is a destructive approach, and there is nothing to indicate bias on the part of the Judges other than their sincere desire to understand the points articulated as well as the pros and cons of the arguments made by both sides.
We should not forget that it remained open to the Judges to adopt a staggered approach to hearing this matter in terms of which the technical arguments would be considered first, and on the basis of the outcome of argument on the technical points, a hearing on the merits would be conducted.
However, the Court has elected to hear argument on the merits and technicalities simultaneously, further inviting MDC’s Counsel to make an application for Condonation for the alleged late Lodgement of the Court Application. A Condonation argument had not been advanced by MDC of its own accord, but the Court found it necessary to have it considered and invited submissions.
If the Court was not interested in fairness in this matter, it would have not invited submissions on Condonation on late lodgement that had not been made by Chamisa’s own Legal Representatives.
In my view, there is nothing to suggest any untoward bias and favouritism towards ZANU (PF) unless one takes the view that the Courts should abandon their customary inquisitorial approach in dealing with weighty matters of this nature purely to serve the interests of one of the Parties because its what the public wants.
As stated at the beginning, the fruit of the poison tree is an apt metaphor in this situation.
ZANU (PF)’s Counsel has essentially conceded the discrepancies in the results and numbers, and the thrust of their argument appears to be that these discrepancies had no material effect on the outcome of the election and should not be regarded as fatal taking into account the US Court decision in Bush v Gore…This itself is a puzzling argument taking into account how much emphasis was placed on a procedural point regarding late lodgement of the Electoral challenge.
If the MDCs failure to follow procedure in lodging the application is so material, one would wonder how seriously procedural and substantive defects in the actual election process itself should be taken.
Furthermore, according to contemporary Political Thought, America is not considered a true democracy, but is a Plutocracy masquerading as a Democracy…An Empire in decline. One of the key turning points was in-fact the election of George Bush who led America in the ‘War on Terror’ which has since been followed by the embarassing Trump Presidency…In short, America is not the example to follow here.
It would be safer to treat any Electoral result in which irregularities have been shown to exist as fruit of the poison tree and declare it void rather than consider the ‘extent’ by which the irregularities had an adverse effect.
This would set a dangerous precedent because it will be difficult to draw the line in subsequent cases…Irregularities should not be tolerated or condoned by any margin, that is the strongest message to send to the Executive so as to safeguard our democracy for future generations.
All in all, we await the Court’s decision and courtesy of ZTN Live provide you with the full Video Stream of the Court proceedings…For the deficiencies of the American Empire and Western Democracy in general, you can read the article below by renowned Academic and Thinker Noam Chomsky.
His seminal work ‘Manufacturing Consent’ is an excellent expose of the propaganda techniques adopted by modern Western Governments as they carry out a Plutocratic agenda under the guise of democracy…We wait with baited breath.
Stay woke fellow Africans and brethren.
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