Mugabe feels critics' anger

HARARE - As public anger against President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF continues to mount, radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile has filed a court suit seeking to have the increasingly frail nonagenarian removed from office over his alleged human rights abuses and violations of the country’s Constitution.

This comes as renowned political scientist Stephen Chan warned in an interview with the Daily News FROM P1

stunning fall-out with war veterans — as well as ongoing attempts to drown the political career of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — could cost Zanu PF its hold on power going into the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

In the court case that Mugabe is now facing, Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi has filed a constitutional lawsuit demanding that Zimbabwe’s long-ruling leader resigns over his alleged failure to uphold the country’s Constitution.

Interestingly, Mkwananzi did not just cite Mugabe as the first respondent in his court action, he also cited the beleaguered Mnangagwa as the second respondent, as the latter also doubles up as Justice minister.

“He (Mugabe) has admitted to committing human rights atrocities on his fellow citizens. Such conduct is not becoming of a leader or a person in the office of the 1st Respondent.

He has no legal or moral basis to continue being entrusted with the duties of a custodian of the Constitution. This is in breach of section 90(1) and 90(2) of the Constitution,” part of Mkwananzi’s long affidavit reads.

Among a litany of charges, Mugabe stands accused of threatening war veterans with violence after the former freedom fighters recently served divorce papers on the nonagenarian.

Addressing a hastily convened meeting of Zanu PF supporters at the ruling party’s Harare headquarters last month, Mugabe warned the disaffected war veterans that they would be dealt with severely, including through the use of extra-judicial suppression methods that his former liberation movement incorporated during the country’s independence war in the 1970s — such as incarcerating dissenters in inhuman dungeons where they were forced to live like caged rats.

This was after the war veterans’ executive issued a damning communiqué in which they effectively served divorce papers on the Zanu PF leader whom they said was “a hard sell” for the 2018 elections.

In his affidavit, Mkwananzi also vowed to provide video evidence in court to prove that Mugabe had threatened citizens when they recently protested against his misrule, in complete disregard of the Constitution.

“The utterances show that he or his party controls the police and they are his and he will use them as the agent to affect such systematic torture on citizens. Ordinarily, the defence forces are supposed to be non-partisan but he is now using them or threatening to use them on partisan grounds to torture citizens.

“In his speeches, he actually uses them as a guarantee to his control over other citizens and he insinuates that they (the police) will enforce the party’s agenda. He is abusing his office as commander in chief of the defence forces to subvert the Constitution,” he argued further.

Mkwananzi also said owing to the many violations, citizens no longer felt that they had the right to air their views on political matters because to Mugabe, “a different opinion is nonsense which he will not tolerate”.

“This is in breach of his duty to ‘respect the diversity of the people and communities of Zimbabwe’ in terms of section 90 (2) (d). The 1st Respondent has no right to ban demonstrations in Zimbabwe as long as they are conducted in terms of the Constitution.

“He cannot threaten citizens who defect from him or his political party with punishment ‘in bunkers’ ‘likes rats’. He has gone to the extent of treating citizens as enemies if they don’t agree with him,” he argued.

Mkwananzi also said while it was Mugabe’s duty to promote national unity and reconciliation, as well as maintain order, peace, stability and devotion to the well-being of the country and all its people, “the same protector is now the chief threat to these ideals”.

“If his conduct is not checked and regulated, this nation, its hopes, aspirations and its people would be steered into a sea of hatred, war and instability.

“It is only this honourable court that can put an end to this hate speech and factionalism by declaring such conduct to be unconstitutional and contrary to the 1st respondent‘s core duties as provided in section 90 of the Constitution. Unabated, this hate speech and threats can degenerate into chaos and potential genocide,” Mkwananzi prayed.

“It is my respectful contention that the president cannot threaten citizens and expect them to cower to his demands without such conduct being brought to book. We did not vote a dictator into power, but I fear that circumstances and our silence might end up creating one,” he added.

Meanwhile, world politics expert Stephen Chan  has warned that Zanu PF could lose its liberation fear factor going into the keenly-awaited 2018 national elections.

Chan spoke as war veterans boycotted joining Mugabe at the Heroes Acre on Monday, as Zimbabwe remembered those who died and sacrificed their lives during the country’s protracted liberation struggle.

“To lose the veterans is a disaster for Mugabe,” Chan told the Daily News in an exclusive interview, adding: “They fought, they sacrificed. Who else carries the mantle of the men and women who suffered in the field against huge odds?

“I saw the Rhodesian war machine. It took huge courage to go up against that. Losing the veterans will mean, as I said, Zanu PF is no longer the party of liberation”.

War veterans have been one of Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

“Yes, these ructions will destroy Zanu PF as the party of liberation. The war veterans have lost faith in Mugabe. Joice Mujuru, a genuine war heroine, has been purged. Emmerson Mnangagwa, a hero of the struggle, has been under sustained attack.

“Those who will be left will have played no part in (the) armed struggle. If that is the case, those who succeed Mugabe will need a successful policy programme, but all we see is a struggle for succession and no policy programme.

“If Mnangagwa also falls, then the Zanu PF of the 2018 elections will not be the same party of the 1980 independence elections,” Chan observed.

Zanu PF is riven by serious infighting pitting two factions — Team Lacoste that is rallying behind Mnangagwa and the Generation 40 group which is opposed to the embattled VP succeeding Mugabe.

Team Lacoste says Mnangagwa is the right candidate to succeed Mugabe should the veteran leader fail to complete his term or step down, while the party’s young Turks, the G40, want the nonagenarian to remain at the helm at whatever cost.

The war veterans also favour Mnangagwa to take over and have warned that there could be bloodshed if the man nicknamed Ngwena (crocodile) does not succeed Mugabe.

However, the Midlands godfather has distanced himself from both the war veterans and Team Lacoste, although political analysts say this is merely a tactical move to manage his relationship with Mugabe.

Chan said Mugabe should have paved way for new blood a long time ago, and that his continued reign and old age were militating against the country’s development.

“There is no major leader anywhere else in the world who is Mugabe’s age. In China, which also venerates age, you cannot become a member of the politburo or become president if you are over 60,” Chan told the Daily News.

Comments (14)

People surrounding Mugabe are benefiting a lot from this economy meltdown. Mugabe cant think straight at his age and these people are using him to protect their riches

DT - 10 August 2016

If yo stubbon great grandpa still wants to handle the plough ,what do yu do?Moreso when he is failing to control the plough and the oxen.The field is left rough wth bunks .The stubbon great grandpa ignores strong great grand sons and grandsons,telling them they are not good enuf.Those who grew up in the rurals,what do yu do as a young men of that homestead?

viola gwena - 11 August 2016

i think Zimbabweans we should know that we need to fight our own battle.

Batsiranayi Ngugama - 11 August 2016

Thank you very much Mr Mkwananzi. Its about time Mr Mugabe realized that he is a servant of the people and not vice versa. This also applies to his proxies who act like they're still herding cattle.

Sagitarr - 11 August 2016

thats a nice one @Viola!

SaManyika Chaiye - 11 August 2016

Thank you aunt Viola...ndiyo irikutambika na sekuru va sekuru.

Viva Unidade - 11 August 2016

When yu try to reasn wth him by showing him neighbor s fields how good they are looking,bcoz of the youngmen who took over ploughing from their fathers, the stubbon grandpa tells yu he wuld rather train his young wife to plough ,than all yu grand sons .A confusing case.

viola gwena - 11 August 2016

and the young wife will stand infront of the village telling them you young man are not able to plough,u take notes from me,so embarassing

Taks - 11 August 2016

@viola gwena,i couldnt agree with yo moyo on your assesment,the grandpa must give the grandsons[g40] and not give the son[mnangagwa]

truth - 11 August 2016

@truth,its not about whoz being given,its about the grandpa giving,nomatter who

Taks - 11 August 2016

Viola gwena is a seasoned zanu apologist of the Lacoste type, she has toned down from the days post the ouster of the Gamatox faction and ED was made VP. Now the wheels look like they are coming off, truth is Mugabe's failures are not his only. You zanoids are all culpable Lacoste, Mustvangwa the lot of you. Mugabe was bad from the onset but you were happy because his terribleness was only visited on those you didn't care about or hated but now that the double edged sword is now cutting on your side you now trying to remove yourself from taking responsibility. The day people of no integrity or sense of right and concern for the life of other citizens become politically irrelevant would be a good day in the political journey of the country. Right now these type of people rule and those who support them are not any different they are just buying their time.

Lt General - 11 August 2016

Its wrong to suggest that Mr Mugabe was always a bad leader from 1974.I beg to differ.Mugabe was handed over the leadership in 1975,wth one goal,to defeat Smith by any means necessary n deliver independence.He did a sterling job ,delivered the parkage inside 5 yrs.Thats owesome.From 1980 to 1995, he enhenced education by ordering everyone back to school,including grannies.He built clinics in all rurals,provided drugs free to citizens in the rurals.He embarked on road construction countrywide.We became the model of Africa.He took on agriculture inviting rural folks to deliver to GMB ,like CFU.Surely this was seriouse progress.Cmon.Disaster came in 2000,land invasions.Simple.

viola gwena - 11 August 2016

Had Mr Mugabe agreed to make way for another leader to take over,I bet to this day Zimbabwe wuld be bigger ,better nation.In 1990 he was supposed to let Edson Zvobgo takeover to 2000,then another leader.That way leadership renewal wuld have gurrunteed success for our nation.He can still do this by handing over to Emmerson.Its the right thing to do in Zanu.Mr Mugabe represents the past while Emmerson can take us to the future.

viola gwena - 11 August 2016

thank u promise mkwananzi l think u deserve to be recognised pane varume we ar right behind u

masvingo - 12 August 2016

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