ED risks throwing the country into a constitutional crisis

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INCIDENTS when President Emmerson Mnangagwa has acted at cross purpose with the law are increasing at an alarming rate that every patriotic Zimbabwean should begin to worry.

When Mnangagwa took over the reigns from the late former President Robert Mugabe in a November 2017 coup, he promised to respect the Constitution and act in the best interest of the people and the country.

He even promised to be a listening President Zimbabweans had craved for but failed to get during Mugabe’s era.

But four years under his rule, there are clear indications that he is not putting his words into action.

Several incidents by the President have confirmed the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Truth, Health, Justice and Freedom fears. On Wednesday said that the President posed a great threat to justice and the rule of law in the country.

In June, Mnangagwa took a leading role in the “unconstitutional” extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term.

Despite an outcry from Citizens, lawyers, and a High Court ruling that nullified the extension of Justice Malaba’s term, the CJ is still in office right now. A ruling challenging his stay in office is yet to be delivered by the Constitutional Court.

To compound the issues, the matter was heard by a conflicted bench, not only because they were cited in the matter, but because they directly reported to Malaba, the subject of the litigation.

One wonders what made Mnangagwa so desperate to retain Malaba to the extent of violating the Constitution.

On Tuesday this week, the Executive ordered all unvaccinated civil servants not to report for work. This is tantamount to forcing the workers to be vaccinated, against their wishes and rights enshrined in the Constitution.

There is no law that makes vaccination mandatory. If Mnangagwa wanted to be lawful, he should have used his majority in Parliament to enact a law than make a decree in Cabinet that violates the governance charter. The Executive cannot violate the decisions of other arms of State. His order was accompanied by another prohibiting unvaccinated congregants from attending church services, disregarding an interim ruling by High Court judge Justice David Mangota that unvaccinated congregants can attend church services.

So what Mnangagwa is telling the country is that he is above the law and his word is law.

This is, indeed, an unfortunate and worrying development in the country. We have also witnessed him unilaterally suspending by-elections conveniently using COVID-19 restrictions, a decision not supported by law. We have noted Mnangagwa’s penchant for ruling by decree. He has issued many Statutory Instruments during his short tenure, circumventing Parliament, mandated to make laws under the separation of power principle. The President should start thinking about the impact of his decisions on the country and stop creating an artificial constitutional crisis. Mr President, the law should be respected even if it threatens your stay in power. No one is above the law. It is regrettable that the “listening Dear leader” is going rogue by each day. Newsday

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