LOCAL civil society activists have approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga’s ascendancy to power by forcing former President Robert Mugabe to resign in November last year.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In a chamber application filed at the ConCourt yesterday, the Liberal Democrats, Revolutionary Freedom Fighters alongside Vusumuzi Sibanda, Linda Masarira and Bongani Nyathi urged the court to grant them direct access, arguing that the elevation of the duo through a military intervention, compromised the country’s adherence to the rule of law.
In his founding affidavit forming part of the application, Sibanda said he was not seeking the reversal of Mugabe’s resignation or Mnangagwa’s inauguration, but sought guarantees for the rule of law.
“I do not seek the reversal of what took place leading to the resignation of the fifth respondent (Mugabe) and the inauguration of the first respondent (Mnangagwa). I am seeking the restoration of the rule of law, the supremacy of the Constitution, the declaration and the condemnation of constitutional infringements and the separation of powers of the executive, the judiciary and the legislature,” Sibanda said.
“The current scenario in Zimbabwe poses a serious threat to democracy in that, he who led (second respondent, Chiwenga) on November 14 to 21, 2017 was later seen at a Zanu PF extraordinary congress in December and was later elevated to the position of Vice-President.
“Retired Chief Air Marshal Perrance Shiri and Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo were appointed Ministers of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs respectively by first respondent. Such was the violation of the Constitution by the first, second and third respondents (Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF).”
In the application, the activists said the basis of their application, if granted leave, was to challenge the alleged unconstitutional actions of members of the ZDF and the security services.
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They said the actions by the ZDF and members of the security services and the political affiliation of members of the ZDF and security services were prohibited by section 208(2) (a) and (b) and section 211 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“On November 13, 2017, second respondent who was then the Commander of the ZDF held a Press conference at the army headquarters in Harare where he lamented the purging of former liberation veterans in Zanu PF.
“He threatened that the army would step in the political affairs of Zanu PF to curb the alleged purging of liberation veterans…in announcing his statement second respondent was the Commander of the ZDF and as such, his actions were contrary to section 211(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Sibanda said.
“On November 14, 2017, vehicles in the form of tanks from the ZDF barricaded some roads leading to the President’s offices along Samora Machel Avenue/Sam Nujoma Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue roads leading to Parliament of Zimbabwe, just to mention a few, such development was inconsistent with section 213 (1)(a) and (b) of the Constitution.”
The activists further said soon after Mugabe’s resignation, Mnangagwa was airlifted from exile to the country by a helicopter belonging to the ZDF and escorted by the same to his inauguration.
“Such escort at the height of political intervention was evidence to first respondent being the architect of the coup d’etat,” they argued.
“The above actions by second and third respondents displayed allegiance and partisanship to a faction of the first respondent nicknamed Lacoste of Zanu PF who had been expelled from government by fifth respondent just a week before the intervention of second, third and fourth respondents. This was clearly a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.