Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mugabe dragged to court: Unity Day challenge to be heard in July

By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |

UK-based Zimbabwean lawyer, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, will have his case challenging the constitutionality of declaring December 22 Unity Day heard on July 13.

Former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader turned lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka
Former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader and lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka

Chinyoka, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader in the early 1990s, confirmed that his application had been set down for mid-July.

“Our Unity Day challenge will be heard on July 13 at the Constitutional Court. We have received nothing but encouragement: people are united in their opposition to a unity day celebration that celebrates no unity but perpetuates division and discord in our politics.

“Clearly relishing the fact that we have a hearing date and looking forward to vindicating our rights in the Constitutional Court. It is just unfortunate that our two other applications continue to face resistance and sabotage: the last we heard was that papers had been lost in the sheriff’s office but we gave them new documents weeks ago and still nothing.

“But, while justice might be delayed it cannot be denied.

“The reason why we will prevail is not just because we have justice and truth on our side, but because we are with the people and there is nothing stronger than something whose time has come. And the people’s time has come,” Chinyoka told Nehanda Radio.

Chinyoka made the Constitutional Court challenge in January.

December 22 is an annual holiday following the 1987 unity pact between Zanu PF and PF Zapu that had been at war from the early years of independence.

In 1982, Robert Mugabe, then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe that had attained independence from Ian Smith’s apartheid government in 1980, launched a crackdown in the south of the country.

He accused PF Zapu led by founding nationalist Joshua Nkomo of harbouring dissidents who he said were plotting to overthrow his government.

The crackdown resulted in at least 20,000 deaths mainly comprising civilians, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).

Talks between the two parties led to the 1987 unity pact that resulted in PF Zapu becoming a conjunct of the present day Zanu PF.

The government has, especially of late, made no secret of the fact that the holiday celebrates that Zanu PF unity event, and not national unity.

Chinyoka has also filed another case seeking a court order to have parliament probe Mugabe’s health to see if he still fit for duty.

The president is now 92 and is the oldest head of state in the world.

Lack of fitness for duty is one condition that the constitution stipulates as an acceptable basis for a president to vacate office.

Mugabe’s health is rumoured to be deteriorating and has made many unexplained trips to Singapore where is believed to undergo emergency and routine health check-ups.

Leaked diplomatic cables, Wikileaks, have revealed that he suffered from prostate cancer, and government spin doctors have confirmed that he goes out of the country for eye surgery and reviews.

In January, Chinyoka and the MDC-T legislator for Zengeza East, Alexio Masundire, approached the ConCourt seeking to have the process whereby the selection of national heroes is done by the Zanu PF politburo in violation of the National Heroes’ Act declared unconstitutional and to bar Mugabe and Zanu PF from further declaring heroes.

The Zanu (PF) government has been repeatedly accused of partisanship in its choice of heroes, with those regarded foes being excluded despite their contributions to the liberation war and national development. Nehanda Radio