Home » Judicial » Lawyers Dismiss Opposition’s Defence of Mujuru

TWO western-sponsored political parties, the National Constitutional Assembly and the MDC-T have rallied to the defence of disgraced former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru who was fired, along with seven ministers linked to her attempt to depose the President, for behaviour inconsistent with her official responsibilities.

NCA leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku yesterday said he would today challenge the appointment of the two new Vice Presidents — Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa and Cde Phelekezela Mphoko — at the Constitutional Court saying President Mugabe is at law allowed to appoint only one VP.

Prof Madhuku and his political party are seeking the nullification of the recent appointments and the restoration of Dr Joice Mujuru, saying the decision was unconstitutional.

Dr Madhuku availed his founding affidavit yesterday, but said he will file the application today at the Constitutional Court. The development comes as the MDC-T announced it would seek to impeach President Mugabe for firing Dr Mujuru.

Since the allegations of high level corruption and abuse of office were levelled at Dr Mujuru, the whole arsenal of the opposition from NGOs, political parties and anti-Government tabloids have rallied to her defence raising eyebrows as to the kind of relationship that existed between the shamed former VP and the regime change lobbyists.

But legal experts have described the proposed application as an abuse of the court process and an attention-seeking venture. Legal experts and political analysts also scoffed at threats by the MDC-T to impeach President Mugabe in Parliament, saying the embattled party lacked the required numbers to push anything through Parliament in the wake of its devastating loss to Zanu-PF in harmonised elections held last year.

In his affidavit, Prof Madhuku said he intended to file the Constitutional Court application in terms of Section 85 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“It is not permitted by paragraph 14(2) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013,” he said.

“The first respondent (President Mugabe) therefore intends to act contrary to the law, thereby infringing the rights of both the first applicant (NCA) and myself.

Section 14(2) of the Sixth Schedule reads:

“Without delay, the person elected as President in any election referred to in paragraph 1 must appoint not more than two Vice Presidents, who hold office at his or her pleasure.”

Prof Madhuku argued that President Mugabe chose to work with one VP soon after his election and that replacing Dr Joice Mujuru with two VPs was unlawful.

President Mugabe’s lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein said the Constitution gave the President power to appoint two Vice Presidents and that Prof Madhuku’s application was doomed to fail.

“President Mugabe is the head of this country and not Prof Madhuku,” he said. “The President is clearly entitled by the Constitution to appoint two Vice Presidents and he is very likely to do so regardless of those who simply wish to file applications to achieve some relevance.

“I don’t think anyone with a rudimentary grasp of the law will take the application seriously. It is clearly headed one way.”

Prominent Harare lawyer Mr Farai Mutamangira concurred saying Prof Madhuku had no basis of challenging the President’s decision.

“With greatest respect to my learned colleague Professor Madhuku, I struggle to see any jurisprudential argument that is worth detaining the Constitutional Court,” he said. “There is nothing at all.”

Mr Mutamangira said he was not in agreement with Prof Madhuku’s interpretation of Section 14(2) of the Sixth Schedule.

“I do not accept his interpretation of the Sixth Schedule, in particular, his interpretation of the phrase ‘without delay’.

“He interprets the phrase to mean that (without even opening debate on what constitutes delay) once the President appoints one VP, he waives his constitutional right or power to appoint the other.”

Mr Mutamangira said the President’s statutory power cannot be waived hence President Mugabe still has the power to appoint the two VPs.

On MDC-T threats to impeach President Mugabe, the party spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu was quoted by a local daily yesterday as saying they would push for the impeachment following the dismissal of Dr Mujuru.

According to the Constitution a resolution passed by at least two thirds of the membership of both the Senate and National Assembly is required to remove either the President or the Vice President from office. But the MDC falls far short of the required numbers with 70 seats out of the 270 seats in the National Assembly and 21 seats out of 80 in the Senate.

Zanu-PF has 197 seats in the National Assembly and 37 seats in the Senate.

The Welshman Ncube led MDC has two seats in both the National Assembly and Senate.

Chiefs and representatives of persons with disabilities have 18 and two Senate seats respectively.

Mr Hussein said the MDC-T had no grounds to impeach the President.

“It is a numbers game and quite frankly the MDC-T is wasting their time,” he said. “The law says if you want to impeach the President you got to have the grounds to do so which they clearly cannot because the President has not acted in any way outside the Constitution and then hypothetically if they could prove that they have to have the requisite numbers.”

Another lawyer and legislator Mr Jonathan Samkange said the MDC-T “was dreaming”.

“They don’t have the numbers in Parliament, so how can they pass a vote of no confidence unless they are suggesting that there are some Zanu-PF MPs that would join them,” he said.

“Zanu-PF constitutes the majority since they have more than two thirds majority, so how can a minority remove the President. Quite frankly they are dreaming, but since Zimbabwe is a democracy they are allowed to dream and to be heard.”

Political analyst Goodwine Mureriwa also accused the MDC-T of trying to seek relevance.

Source : The Herald