Mnangagwa‘s gaffe in bad taste

The shocking and scandalous statements by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday once again illustrate the flagrant disdain and contempt for the rights and due protection of the law as provided for by the Supreme Law of the land which is our Constitution. 

Threatening lawyers and doctors who are merely doing their work just shows us that far from being in a new dispensation this new deception is a false dawn and worse than the previous regime.

At least one thing which came out clearly is that the soldiers were deployed by the man himself and in terms of the provisions of Section 214 of our Constitution the President is obliged to promptly and in appropriate detail inform Parliament of the reasons for their deployment. It is now five weeks down the line and no attempt has been made to fulfill this Constitutional requirement.

As the MDC we raised a point of order on this very issue when Parliament resumed sitting on the 29th January 2019 and to date there is a deafening silence from the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Although he was not in the Chamber on the day in question the Deputy Speaker promised to study the matter and so far we have heard nothing on the subject matter and the inescapable conclusion is that the matter has been swept under the carpet.

It is not as if this is the first occasion that an issue of this nature has arisen because on the 1st August 2018 the soldiers were also unleashed on the people but again the Constitution was ignored, the Executive thumped its nose on Parliament.

Instead scant resources were spent on a needless Commission of Inquiry which found that there was disproportionate use of force and there is no inclination whatsoever to bring to book those who went out of bounds.

The report is gathering dust somewhere but what is more frightening is the tacit condonation of the behavior of the army.

To the contrary the culture of impunity tends to be encouragement to do worse as the events of the 1st of August appear like a picnic in comparison to the allegations emanating from the 14th January 2019 which read like a script from a horror movie.

It is in this vein that we in the MDC would have expected a modicum of restraint instead of what we witnessed on Saturday.

It is preposterous to imagine that lawyers would instigate people to commit heinous crimes so that they would represent them or that doctors would arrange to get people maimed so that they can treat them. These are professionals whose calling is to assist those who need their services.

Zimbabwe needs all of us to reflect on the provisions of our Constitution and at this point in time the Executive has been found wanting but the Judiciary has not covered itself in glory either.

The manner in which people have been tried has been cause for concern and when you see lawyers putting on their robes and jaboot to march these are signs that something is wrong somewhere.
We hope that we will not get to the stage where there is complete loss of confidence in the institutions of the state and we call upon all key actors to reflect upon their oaths of office.

Behold the New. Change that delivers!

Innocent Gonese
MDC Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs

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