ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa has
defended President Robert Mugabe’s 36-
year-old rule, arguing the 92-year-old
leader is still capable of managing the
country’s affairs, despite increasing
pressure from different groups to step down
over his failure to revive the fortunes of the
country.
Mnangagwa made the remarks yesterday
while responding to a constitutional
application filed by Tajamuka/Sesijikile
spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, who is
seeking an order compelling Mugabe to step
down on allegations that he has failed to
properly run the country.
In his personal application, Mkwananzi
argues Mugabe is not capable of carrying out
his work due to advanced age and was failing
to properly execute some of his duties as
stipulated in the country’s Constitution and,
as such, should be forced to step down.
“This is an application in terms of Section
167(2)(d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
for the determination of whether the
President has failed to fulfil his
constitutional obligations and duties as
required by Section 90(1) and (2),”
Mkwananzi said in his founding affidavit.
“The mandate of the first respondent
(Mugabe) is centred upon these core duties
provided in Section 90(1) and (2) and any act
or conduct inconsistent with these duties
amounts to a breach of his constitutional
obligations.”
Mkwananzi also claimed there was unchecked
and institutionalised abuse of State power
and resources during the colonial era and the
first 20 years of the country’s independence.
However, Mnangagwa urged the court to
dismiss the application, saying Mkwananzi
had not followed the court rules for his case
to be heard by the Constitutional Court.
“Applicant (Mkwananzi) had made this
application in terms of Section 167(2) d of
the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(Number 20) alleging that the President has
failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations,
I am advised by my legal practitioners that
such an application must, in terms of rule
27(2) of the Constitutional Court Rules 2016,
be filed with the registrar and served on all
interested parties within two days after the
date of such application having been filed,”
the Vice-President said.
“Applicant has not complied with this rule of
this honourable court. On that basis alone
this application must be dismissed for non-
compliance with the rules of this court.”
Responding to the merits of the case,
Mnangagwa said it was not true that there
had been unchecked and institutionalised
abuse of State power and resources.
“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 plaintiff to the strict
proof thereof,” he said.
Mkwananzi also criticised Mugabe for
allegedly using foul language against his
citizens, saying it was not befitting for the
President to threaten his subjects.
“The man, who is supposed to unite the
nation, is now at the forefront of creating
divisions and factions amongst the
citizenry,” he said.
“Such conduct is not becoming of a Head of
State that is enjoined by the Constitution to
embrace the diversity of the citizens.
“The first respondent has no right to
threaten the very same citizens that voted
him into power from exercising their rights,
the same rights he is required to protect. He
is not above the Constitution.”
In his response, Mnangagwa said he had no
knowledge about what Mugabe was alleged to
have said, but denied he had caused divisions
in the country.
“Save to deny that the first respondent has
caused divisions in the manner alleged, I
have no knowledge of the rest of the
contents of this paragraph and do not admit
them,” he said.
The matter is yet to be set down for
hearing.