Mugabe’s disregard of Constitution shameful

President Robert Mugabe

YESTERDAY we revealed that President Robert Mugabe could have been wrongly advised on former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s continued stay in Parliament, a disclosure which points to his penchant for willy-nilly disregarding the supreme law of the land.

Mugabe was required to declare a by-election in Mt Darwin West within 90 days of Mujuru’s appointment as vice-president in September 2013.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru

Section 129 (1) (c) of the Constitution categorically states that the seat of a legislator becomes vacant upon the member becoming president or VP.

According to the same section, newly-appointed VP Emmerson Mnangagwa’s seat is now vacant and Mugabe should declare a by-election within 90 days.

Constitutional experts say the fact that a by-election was not called in Mujuru’s constituency in terms of Section 158 (3) of the Constitution means Mugabe breached the Constitution.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

What makes the whole episode disturbing is the seeming complicity of the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda.

Parliament is supposed to keep in check the Executive as one of the three pillars of the government, but it seems Mudenda slept on duty as he was supposed to declare Mujuru’s Mt Darwin West seat vacant.

Both Mugabe and Mudenda allowed the seat to remain vacant for over a year, which is a travesty of justice for the electorate.

Mugabe’s sympathisers suggest poor advice could have blurred Mugabe’s judgment leading to Mujuru’s continued stay in Parliament while the two were in good books.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda

But we disagree and pin it to misrule as the latest disclosures expose Mugabe as a leader who appears to use the Constitution for political expedience.

Were it not for the dramatic fallout with his former VP, the issue would have remained a classified secret and swept under the carpet. But now that there is no love lost between the two, chickens are coming home to roost.

In the run-up to the Zanu PF congress, Mugabe raised a myriad of allegations against his former second-in-command in the party and the government, top among them dabbling in witchcraft and corruption.

Be that as it may, the revelations expose that the biggest problem the country has is that advice is not being given based on expertise, rather it is being offered based on political manipulation of the president.

As he relies more and more on those around him, it will make him more vulnerable in the political chess game. Watch this space.