When both sides say enough is enough

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is in a fix, despite controlling the security sector, he is faced with an enemy much bigger and one that he swore ever to protect when he was re-elected — the Constitution.

On one hand, the police are hell-bent on thwarting dissenting voices, on the other hand the courts say the law has to be respected and people are free to demonstrate.

Thus, Mugabe’s declaration that enough is enough is not being heeded as the opposition use the Constitution to advance its cause.

Mugabe, at 92, has never been placed between the horns of dilemma as he is now, and analysts say his 36-year-old rule is more precarious than ever.

While some activists have been thrown in prison for daring the nonagenarian, protests have largely remained a daily routine as Zimbabweans stand up against the world’s oldest ruler.

Where there is police clampdown, protestors resort to graffiti telling the ruler that Zimbabwe has only known since independence from Britain in 1980 that “Enough is enough’.

Against police guns and batons, tear gas and even fists, Zimbabweans have shielded themselves with the Constitution which came into effect in 2013.

Thus far, the supreme law has proved to be a thorn in the flesh for authorities who, however, remain defiant and ruthless.

In the wake of Mugabe’s threats to throw opposition leaders in prison, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said they will continue to seek the courts’ intervention.

“The MDC remains undeterred in its resolve to continue with peaceful demonstrations. Mugabe can say whatever he wants but then, he is not the law. We are a party that strictly abides by and respects court orders. Mugabe is inciting violence, as he always does when he’s cornered. We are not cowards. We don’t feel intimidated by those puerile threats of violence. We know our rights,” said Gutu.

Police have in the past used brute force to quell the protests that have been spreading like a veld fire across the country, but a fed up citizenry seems to care less.

A member of the Tajamuka pressure group Promise Mkwananzi, who was held in remand prison for weeks, told a press conference on Friday that “Mugabe’s brutal tactics” will not silence him.

“We are not intimidated…there is no going back in the face of any intimidation...the conditions in prison are torrid…and it’s part of the concern.

“It’s actually good that I was there, because when you are in prison, you are just seated, you have time to think clearly and strategise to execute the struggle,” he said.

The resistance seems to increase with each teargas canister.

In their spirited efforts to suppress the people’s voices, the police have refused to clear many of the demonstrations, forcing the protesters to approach the High Court for reprieve.

The courts, basing their judgments on the Constitution, have been granting permission to protesters to take to the streets.

Thus Mugabe has been left in a catch 22 situation, where the Constitution has acted as a crippling document to his desire.

He has been torn apart, either to interfere with the judiciary and influence the outcome of the court cases or use the security forces to excessively crash the demonstrations, thus far he is using both.

However, against this background, the court in a recently handed down judgment has explicitly explained that it is an independent entity that does not need any interference from any quarters including the executive.

Even amid threats from the highest office, courts have passed sober judgments.

The court has stamped its authority and ruled that the government should respect the rule of law.

From the judiciary end, Mugabe has hit a dead end, with the Constitution that he appended his signature on in 2013, acting as one of his major setbacks.

Even though Mugabe’s Zanu PF has a majority in Parliament, the Constitution is not easy to amend as it might have to go through a referendum, which, apart from being a tedious process can result in defeat for the ruling party.

For a man whose bag has been “full of tricks”, Mugabe seems to be at crossroads and is exploring all the avenues that he hopes will save him from the catastrophic situation being brewed by the endless protests.

Soon after the government hit a snag that resulted in the lifting of the ban by the High Court, the police went on to propose to issue another prohibition order.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.