Former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central youth chairperson, Godfrey Tsenengamu, who is facing charges of subverting a constitutionaly-elected government, insists President Robert Mugabe must retire to make way for his deputy, Emerson Mnangagwa, arguing such utterances have nothing to do with toppling the 93-year-old leader from power.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Tsenengamu said his remarks during a recent Press conference in Harare, were mere political statements that had so far been misconstrued by the law enforcement agents, who have since sought to drag the government into simple party politics.
In his bail statement filed last week, Tsenengamu said Mugabe was the Zanu PF leader, while Mnangagwa was also from the same party.
He said calls for Mugabe to step down in favour of his deputy should not be interpreted as calling for uprisings.
Tsenengamu reportedly said: “The ball is now in your hands, the war veterans, the same way you removed Sithole to replace him with Mugabe. We now want you to lead us so that Mnangagwa becomes the next party president, going forward.”
Through his lawyer, Zivanai Macharaga, Tsenengamu told High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, his quoted speech was simply talking about replacing Mugabe with Mnangagwa as a party president.
“What was being discussed wasn’t State President, but party president. There is a difference between political party and State Presidency. It is not a crime to advocate the removal of a party president, but when it comes to State President, one has to look if the removal is unconstitutional or not,” Macharaga said.
“President is defined in terms of section 89 of the Constitution as, ‘the President is the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. The President described by statutes is not a political party president, but State President.”
Tsenengamu further said although he was being charged for making reference to a party president, he made reference to Mugabe and Sithole, “while it is not clear which Mugabe and Sithole are being mentioned”.
“Let’s say he is talking of President Mugabe, who is a Zimbabwean and Zanu PF president, while Sithole is former Zanu PF president, whose history says he was replaced by Mugabe as Zanu PF president, this will only go to show that the replacement of leadership that he was talking about is a political party president,” his lawyers said.
The matter was supposed to be heard yesterday, but prosecutor, Tapiwa Kasema sought postponement to today to enable him to file the State’s response.
Meanwhile, another bail application involving incarcerated Kariba-based Remnant Church cleric Patrick Philip Mugadza, who is alleged to have committed a criminal offence by prophesising that Mugabe would die on October 17 this year, was yesterday further postponed to March 8 this year.
The postponement of the matter followed an application by Mugadza’s lawyer, Obey Shava, who told the court he needed time to file a fully transcribed court record before the matter could be heard.
Prosecutor, Editor Mavuto, is appearing for the State.