Con-Court dismisses Mugabe fitness suit

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HARARE – The Constitutional Court (Con-Court) yesterday threw out on a technicality, an application filed by Tajamuka/Sesijikile leader Promise Mkwananzi, challenging President Robert Mugabe’s fitness to remain in office, given his advanced age and alleged violations of the national Constitution.


A full bench of the Con-Court, led by deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, dismissed the application by consent after it was established that Mkwananzi’s court papers had been served at the wrong address for Mugabe.


The court heard that while the papers should have been filed at Mugabe’s offices at the Munhumutapa Building, they had erroneously been served at the New Government Complex.


This came out after Attorney-General Prince Machaya, who was representing Mugabe and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, raised a preliminary point arguing successfully that Mkwananzi had failed to follow the rules of the court which demanded that he served his court papers at the president’s offices.


“There was no service on the first respondent (Mugabe). The return of service indicates that the papers were served somewhere else, not on the address on the papers,” Machaya said.


Mkwananzi’s lawyer, Kudzai Kadzere, conceded to the queries, revealing further his client had been a self-actor (was representing himself) when he filed his papers.


Mkwananzi’s application was made at a time that Zimbabweans and outsiders had been turning the heat on Mugabe, saying it was time for the increasingly frail nonagenarian to call it quits.


In his sensational application, Mkwananzi had also complained of, among other issues, some alleged utterances by Mugabe which he had made while addressing disgruntled war veterans in July last year.


The statements that Mkwananzi took exception to included alleged threats to the effect that: “During the war we would punish defectors severely . . . we kept them underground like rats in bunkers  . . . it is the same thing we are to do here in independent Zimbabwe. The police are ours and they should see to it that these small party protesters are thrown into jail so that they can taste the food there . . . I want to warn them very strongly”.


Mkwananzi argued that such statements should never come from a president.


“This unconstitutional and unpresident-like verbal onslaught reached alarming levels on the 19th of July 2016 at the burial of Masango 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 tolerated such things.


“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,” Mkwananzi alleged, adding that Mugabe was failing to promote peace in the country.

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