Zimbabwe activists challenge legality of Mnangagwa’s presidency

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe civil society activists and fringe opposition parties have lodged a Constitutional Court application challenging the legality of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to office following a de facto military coup last year.

In an application filed on Thursday, the Liberal Democrats and Revolutionary Freedom Fighters as well as activists Bongani Nyathi, Linda Masarira and Vusumuzi Sibanda want the court to declare that Mnangagwa and one of his deputies Constantino Chiwenga are in office illegally since they forcibly wrestled power from former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Chiwenga was appointed Zimbabwe’s first vice president in December, about a month after he led a de facto military coup that eventually forced Mugabe to resign. He was commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces at the time of the de facto coup.

The parties and the activists argue in the court application that Mnangagwa, Chiwenga, Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri and Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo violated the constitution by using the ZDF and security services to push out Mugabe.

Shiri was commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe while Moyo was a major-general in the army.

They argue that the actions by the ZDF and the involvement of army officers in party politics are prohibited by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

This follows a statement issued by Chiwenga on November 14 in which he voiced concern over events in the ruling ZANU PF and threatened to intervene in order to protect the party from “counter-revolutionaries”.

The activists described the current Zimbabwean government make-up as a threat to democracy in the country and sought the court’s intervention to declare Mnangagwa’s presidency illegal.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.


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