ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa has defended President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year-old rule, arguing the 92-year-old leader is still capable of managing the country’s affairs, despite increasing pressure from different groups to step down over his failure to revive the fortunes of the country.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Mnangagwa made the remarks yesterday while responding to a constitutional application filed by Tajamuka/Sesijikile spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, who is seeking an order compelling Mugabe to step down on allegations that he has failed to properly run the country.
In his personal application, Mkwananzi argues Mugabe is not capable of carrying out his work due to advanced age and was failing to properly execute some of his duties as stipulated in the country’s Constitution and, as such, should be forced to step down.
“This is an application in terms of Section 167(2)(d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe for the determination of whether the President has failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations and duties as required by Section 90(1) and (2),” Mkwananzi said in his founding affidavit.
“The mandate of the first respondent (Mugabe) is centred upon these core duties provided in Section 90(1) and (2) and any act or conduct inconsistent with these duties amounts to a breach of his constitutional obligations.”
Mkwananzi also claimed there was unchecked and institutionalised abuse of State power and resources during the colonial era and the first 20 years of the country’s independence.
However, Mnangagwa urged the court to dismiss the application, saying Mkwananzi had not followed the court rules for his case to be heard by the Constitutional Court.
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“Applicant (Mkwananzi) had made this application in terms of Section 167(2) d of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 20) alleging that the President has failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations, I am advised by my legal practitioners that such an application must, in terms of rule 27(2) of the Constitutional Court Rules 2016, be filed with the registrar and served on all interested parties within two days after the date of such application having been filed,” the Vice-President said.
“Applicant has not complied with this rule of this honourable court. On that basis alone this application must be dismissed for non-compliance with the rules of this court.”
Responding to the merits of the case, Mnangagwa said it was not true that there had been unchecked and institutionalised abuse of State power and resources.
“I admit contents of this paragraph, but deny that there has been unchecked and institutionalised abuse of State power and resources for the first 20 years of our independence and put plaintiff to the strict proof thereof,” he said.
Mkwananzi also criticised Mugabe for allegedly using foul language against his citizens, saying it was not befitting for the President to threaten his subjects.
“The man, who is supposed to unite the nation, is now at the forefront of creating divisions and factions amongst the citizenry,” he said.
“Such conduct is not becoming of a Head of State that is enjoined by the Constitution to embrace the diversity of the citizens. “The first respondent has no right to threaten the very same citizens that voted him into power from exercising their rights, the same rights he is required to protect. He is not above the Constitution.”
In his response, Mnangagwa said he had no knowledge about what Mugabe was alleged to have said, but denied he had caused divisions in the country.
“Save to deny that the first respondent has caused divisions in the manner alleged, I have no knowledge of the rest of the contents of this paragraph and do not admit them,” he said.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.