HARARE – Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa has washed his hands off the
threats that were made by President Robert
Mugabe against war veterans and the
generality of the population who are
challenging his disastrous 36-year rule.
In his response to a court application by
prominent anti-government activist Promise
Mkwananzi, calling on Mugabe to step down
on the grounds that the 92-year-old is now
a threat to Zimbabwe’s Constitution,
Mnangagwa tried to stay clear of the thorny
issues that were raised.
Among a litany of allegations raised by
Mkwananzi, who has been arrested several
times for participating in anti-Mugabe
demonstrations, is that the nonagenarian is
now threatening peace-loving Zimbabweans
who dare criticise him.
However, responding to Mkwananzi’s
averments, Mnangagwa said he was unable
to comment on some of the allegations being
raised, including those of threatening peace.
“I have no knowledge of what applicant
(Mkwananzi) alleges . . . and deny it.
Applicant is expressing his opinion and I am
unable to comment. I have no knowledge of
whether the words alleged were the precise
words uttered by the first respondent
(Mugabe) and put the applicant to the proof
thereof,” Mnangagwa said.
Mkwananzi, who maintains that Mugabe is no
longer fit to be the country’s president,
cited the nonagenarian and Justice minister
Mnangagwa, as first and second respondents
In the past few months, Zimbabweans have
been turning the heat on Mugabe, accusing
him of failing to respect the country’s
Constitution as well as failing to come up
with sound economic policies.
Faced with a wave of protests, that show no
signs of ending, Mugabe has threatened his
opponents with violence or jail.
Addressing his supporters at the burial of his
former chief secretary Charles Utete in July
this year, Mugabe threatened to crush war
veterans and church leaders if they
continued challenging his rule.
This followed similar attacks he made in June
on war veterans, who are allegedly linked to
Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.
“The dissidents tried it, they were war
veterans and you know what happened. Lots
of trouble, lots of fighting, lots of suffering
of course to our people, and these dissents
activities cannot be allowed.
“Do we see another rise of dissident
activity? The leadership with our experience
says no for a war veterans association, it’s
not your function; it’s not your business to
talk a lot on who shall succeed the president.
“Dissident activities cannot be allowed; it
ended in December 1987 when Joshua Nkomo
and I put our hands together and our hearts
together to say never again shall we allow
this to happen,” Mugabe said then.
However, Mkwananzi castigated Mugabe over
the statements, which he said should never
come from a president.
“This unconstitutional and un-president like
verbal onslaught reached alarming levels on
the 19th of July 2016 at the burial of . . . .
Utete where the 1st respondent (Mugabe)
said that anyone who does not think like
them is not a part of this country and should
leave and go and stay in countries that
tolerate such.
“I now live in a nation where I cannot
criticise my president for fear of those who
support him or his faction. If anyone
criticises the 1st respondent, there is a
march or rally that is arranged in solidarity
with the first respondent to denounce the
criticism and threaten such person,” said
In his court application, Mkwananzi also said
that “this court does not expect people to
appear before it when they are dripping with
the blood of the actual infringement of their
rights or those who are shivering
incoherently with the fear of the impending
threat which has actually engulfed them. This
court will entertain even those who calmly
perceive a looming infringement and issue a
declaration or appropriate order to stave the
threat,” a statement that Mnangagwa
agreed to.
Responding to Mkwananzi’s statement that
Mugabe is now threatening “the very same
citizen that voted him into power”
Mnangagwa said, “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 applicant
to the strict proof thereof.”
According to Mkwananzi, Mugabe has among
other things failed to promote peace and is
“now the chief threat to these ideals”.
He said Mugabe and his party control the
police and is using them as agents of
torture, but further argued that the defence
forces are supposed to be non-partisan.
“He actually uses them as a guarantee to his
political party . . . he is abusing his office
as commander-in-chief of the defence forces
to subvert the Constitution.
“He has gone to the extent of treating
citizens as enemies if they don’t agree with
him,” he said, adding that Mugabe has failed
to meet several of his promises, including the
creation of at least 2,2 million jobs.
Mnangagwa, however, could not directly
respond to these issues raised by Mkwananzi,
but instead said the pro-democracy activist
simply hates Mugabe.
“Whilst these allegations are directed at the
first respondent, I deny that the averments
are factually correct and I aver the applicant
is being merely morbid in his criticism of the
first respondent. I find that applicant is
being extravagant with his allegations
against the first respondent. The language
employed by applicant suggests that he
harbours a deep-seated hatred of the first
respondent and it would appear that is what
has motivated this application.”