Proposal to impeach Zimbabwe President Mugabe rejected

AN audacious plan by MDC-T Mabvuku/Tafara lawmaker James Maridadi to move a motion for a no confidence vote against President Robert Mugabe has hit a brick wall after Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda threw it out, arguing it was frivolous.


Maridadi has been fighting to force Mudenda to allow him to move the motion for the last two months, arguing Mugabe has shown signs of incapacitation, allowed his wife First Lady Grace to “capture the State” and failed to deal with rampant corruption, among other things.

The MP claimed Mugabe slept through meetings and cited the 92-year-old leader’s embarrassing fall at Harare International Airport last year as one of the reasons the Zanu PF leader must be forced out of office.

However, Mudenda wrote to Maridadi in September, saying the proposed motion did not meet the standards set out in the Constitution.

“I write to inform you that the presiding officers of Parliament have considered your motion and are of the view that it does not meet the requirements set out in Section 97 of the Constitution,” he wrote.

“Impeachment of the president is a very serious matter and, hence, the motion must be backed by specific and irrefutable examples of violations of the Constitution as set in Section (97)(1) of the Constitution.

“Your motion unfortunately does not cite such pointed and incontrovertible cases of violation of the grounds that are elaborated in Section (97)(1) paragraph (a) to (d).

“Standing Order number 38 of the National Assembly allows the presiding officer to withhold or reject a motion which in the opinion of the presiding officer is frivolous.

“It is on the basis of the above that your motion is regrettably rejected”

But Maridadi is not taking Mudenda’s rejection of the motion lying down.

The MP last week said he would now seek the intervention of the Constitutional Court, accusing Mudenda of shielding Mugabe from possible embarrassment.

Maridadi has claimed that some Zanu PF legislators would support the motion if he is allowed to table it.

“I have approached the Constitutional Court because I think my impeachment motion had a lot of merit both legal and political,” he said.

“The fact that the Speaker took over a month to dismiss it is quite telling.

“His decision has nothing to do with the Constitution, but it is a politburo decision meant to save the old man from embarrassment, whose prospects were huge and looming.

“In their hearts of hearts, all members of the Zanu PF politburo know that the merits of the impeachment motion were constitutionally and administratively compelling and politically imposing and appealing. I will have my day in court.”

He added: “Either Mugabe loses as an individual or he uses all of us collectively as his shield and the country sinks with him in the same manner he did after his bilateral tiff with [former British Premier Tony] Blair.

“He took the country down with him and we are now considered a pariah state because of one man.

“We are out of the Commonwealth and he has threatened taking us out of the United Nations.

“Why should 15 million good citizens suffer collateral damage because of the bad decisions of one man? I personally refuse for this nation to sneeze because one man has caught a cold.

Maridadi said he was worried that Mugabe had shown lapses of concentration that were not consistent with his position as head of government.

“We can’t get drunk collectively as a country on behalf of and on account of an individual.”

Maridadi has challenged Mudenda to allow his motion to be debated.

“Impeachment can and must be done in a civilised and peaceful manner befitting a modern-day constitutional democracy,” he said.

“I must be allowed to lose and a secret ballot must be allowed in this case, because my motion will force a change in the constitutional order.”

Over the years, the opposition has tried to impeach Mugabe with no success.

At one time, then Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was appointed chairperson of a committee that was to investigate the Zanu PF leader for possible impeachment

The committee never met as Chinamasa claimed he was too busy to convene meetings.

In the proposed motion, Maridadi argues that Mugabe has illegally allowed his wife, Grace, to usurp his constitutional powers.

He cited Grace’s statements last year that Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko often took notes from her on how to do their jobs.

She also told another rally in Chiweshe that she was already in power and “ruling”.

Maridadi said Mugabe must also be impeached for failing to take action after he revealed in February that at least $15 billion of the country’s diamond earnings could have gone missing.

The former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation presenter said Mugabe should also be removed from office because he had failed to act on rampant corruption and incompetent officials, including his nephew Patrick Zhuwao, the Indigenisation minister.

Also cited is Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s alleged scandal at Zesa Holdings, involving businessman Wicknell Chivayo, who was paid $5 million without proper procedures being followed.

Maridadi said he was worried that Mugabe had shown lapses of concentration that were not consistent with his position as head of government.

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