politics & economy

Zim court dismisses Mugabe 'unfit to rule' case

Wednesday, 08 Feb 2017

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by a social rights activist challenging President Robert Mugabe's fitness to continue to lead the southern African country.

Promise Mkwananzi, leader of a social movement calling itself #Tajamuka, approached the court last year seeking a declaration that Mugabe, 92, was no longer suitable to continue as president of Zimbabwe, arguing that the nonagenarian was willfully violating citizens' rights.

But on Wednesday the full Constitutional Court bench led by Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba unanimously agreed to dismiss the application.

"The application is dismissed on the basis that the respondent (Mugabe) was wrongly served with court papers. Instead of the papers being served at his Munhumutapa offices, the papers were served at the New Government Complex and they were served out of time as required by law," said Malaba.

Mkwananzi's attorney, Kudzai Kadzere, told News24 that the sheriff served the court papers eight days after they were they were stamped at the registrar's office instead of the two days stipulated at law.

'Old and frail'
"We are going to make a fresh application before the court and ensure that the sheriff serves them in time to avoid such technicalities," said Kadzere.

Mkwananzi said he was determined to pursue the case, saying the president remained unfit for office.

"Mugabe has violated the constitution in so many ways and is a threat to peace and security of citizens. For example, he told Evan Mawarire not to set foot in Zimbabwe yet Mawarire is a citizen of this country. The court did not deal with the merits but chose to focus on technicalities, so we will be back in court very soon to seek the same order that we were praying for."

Mkwananzi said that Mugabe, who often travels to Singapore for routine medical treatment, was now "old and frail and not fit for purpose".

"The general retirement age is 65 but here we are talking of someone who will be 93 in a fee days who wants to remain in power at that age; that's unacceptable and we will use a multi-pronged approach to get the old man out of power," said Mkwananzi.

For his part, Mugabe has told Zimbabweans that he would remain in office for as long as citizens want him to lead.

Attorney General Prince Machaya represented Mugabe.

Credits: Paul Richardson and Felix Njini/Bloomberg