Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The intervention by the military to pacify a deteriorating social, political and economic environment, which subsequently led to the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe, was lawful, the High Court ruled on Saturday.
Judge President George Chiweshe made the ruling following an application by two Zanu-PF parliamentarians, Cde Joseph Sibanda and Cde Leonard Chikomba, seeking an order declaring the military action necessary and legal.
They listed former President Cde Mugabe, the Ministry of Defence and the Attorney-General as respondents.
“The action of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in intervening to stop the takeover of first respondent (former President Mugabe) constitutional functions by those around him are constitutionally permissible and lawful in terms of Section 212 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Justice Chiweshe.
He added that the military action was justified in that, “They arrest the first respondents’ abdication of constitutional function and they ensure that non-elected individuals do not exercise executive functions which can only be exercised by elected constitutional functionaries.”
The ruling came a day after the country’s second Executive President Emmerson Mnangagwa took the Oath of Office at a colourful ceremony witnessed by thousands of people from all walks of life, including individuals from across the political divide on Friday.
Cde Mugabe resigned on Tuesday last week after zanu-pf decided to recall him as First Secretary and President of the revolutionary party and as the State President.
When the military intervened a fortnight ago, some legal experts hailed the move, saying the political stabilisation intervention was done in the spirit of national interest and security. They also said the intervention was done in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and in respect of the sadc and African Union security protocols.
The action, experts said, was done in a way that sought to prevent bloodshed, promote peace and national development. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) insisted that their action did not represent a military takeover of the Government, but was meant to address the political, social and economic situation that could have ended in violent conflict.
In a televised address to the nation on ZBC TV on November 15, ZDF’s Major-General Sibusiso Moyo urged people to go about their normal business, but limit unnecessary movement. He said Cde Mugabe and his family were safe and their security was guaranteed.
The ZDF also called for calm among Zimbabweans. Maj-Gen Moyo assured other arms of the State that their actions were meant to protect their independence. He urged political parties to discourage their members from engaging in violence and urged war veterans to ensure peace and stability in the country.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu assisted by Adv Hashiti instructed by Mr Charles Maunga appeared for the applicants, while Mr M. Ndhlovu and Mr K.T. Mukanganwi represented the respondents.