Churches want Mugabe impeached
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
Several church groups last Friday presented a petition to parliament seeking the impeachment of President Robert Mugabe, 92 and dogged by reports of ill-health.
The churches, Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Christian Voice, Prayer Network of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Pastors’ Fellowship, said in their petition that Mugabe was no longer fit to rule the country.
They cited Section 97 of the constitution that allows for the impeachment of the president if he or she fails to perform his or her duties because of physical or mental incapacity.
The section also provides for impeachment if the president fails to uphold or defend the constitution, willfully violates it or commits serious misconduct.
“In terms of Section 90 of the Constitution, the president has an obligation to uphold, defend, obey and respect this Constitution and to ensure that all the other laws are faithfully observed.
“He is obligated to ensure the well-being of all the people of Zimbabwe, more particularly he is obligated to ensure protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law,” reads the petition.
The churches argue that the president violated citizens’ socio-economic rights for causing the near collapse of the economy and impoverishment.
They are accusing Mugabe of human rights violations by crushing dissent.
“His recent threats on church leaders and war veterans over their expression of the deteriorating socio-economic and political situation are behaviour that does not suit statesmanship associated with the high office that he occupies.
“We are currently witnessing serious threats on fundamental tenets of constitutional democracy such as separation of powers through his threats on the judiciary services and his abuse of the police to illegally interfere in peaceful demonstrations,” further noted the petition.
It added: “The State has continued with impunity to brutalise people for carrying out peaceful demonstrations, even after the court would have granted the order to carry out the same.”
The churches said Mugabe’s advanced age was seriously constraining his work as president, amid reports that he is hardly going to the office and is spending most of his time sleeping at home.
“Wherefore we call upon the two Houses of the legislature to specifically trigger the provisions of Section 97 of the Constitution and commence processes to impeach the president,” added the churches.
Despite that, Mugabe’s lieutenants have laughed off calls for Mugabe’s exit, insisting that he has a constitutional mandate to rule till 2018 when fresh elections are held, having won over other contestants in 2013.
Mugabe wants to rule beyond 2018, though, and the Zanu PF women’s wing recently publicly backed him. Nehanda Radio