UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe constitutional law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku has called for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to be barred from contesting the forthcoming elections as punishment for staging a coup against former President Robert Mugabe.
Addressing delegates at a public meeting on the constitutional implications of the military takeover at Sapes Trust on Wednesday, Madhuku warned that Mnangagwa and Chiwenga had set a bad precedent and should not be allowed to participate in future elections.
He said it was highly unlikely that the constitutional bench would declare the November 2017 military intervention as illegal, considering Mnangagwa was sworn in by Chief Justice Luke Malaba.
Madhuku said he did not expect the situation to be reversed because Mugabe had already said he did not want to come back.
“Mnangagwa and Chiwenga should be barred from contesting in the forthcoming elections as punishment for staging the coup. They will be given three months to manage free and fair elections to cure the coup,” he said.
Madhuku said according to the Constitution, only the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, had the power to deploy the army and this was not what happened when the military intervened.
“In the legal environment, with the precedent that has been set, the army will do it at any other time and that they will not be targeting Mugabe’s party now, I think they will be targeting another person or another leader,” he said.
“We have had countries that have gone through this, until one country that used to say a coup happens, as long as it succeeds its fine, then they found there were more and more coups and decided for a coup to be valid, it must be approved by the courts.”
National Patriotic Party spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said his party would soon launch a constitutional challenge to Mnangagwa’s rule as well as organise street protests to show the world that “what happened in Zimbabwe was a coup”.
“We are setting in motion various political and legal processes and we are also mobilising our people to test and to challenge the legitimacy of the junta even in the streets,” Mawarire said.