Activists in Zimbabwe challenge Mnangagwa’s presidency
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Harare ‑ A group of Zimbabwean activists approached the Constitutional Court on Thursday, seeking to challenge the November 15, military intervention, which led to the ousting of former president Robert Mugabe.
Activists Linda Masarira; Bongani Nyathi; and Vusumuzi Sibanda, together with opposition political parties the Liberal Democrats and the Revolutionary Freedom Fighters approached the court challenging the “unconstitutional actions of members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and security services” which was code-named "Operation Restore Legacy".
They listed “Constitutional infringements by organs and institutions of the State upon whom the Constitution directly demands that they protect and uphold” as the grounds for the application, according to the court papers.
They are also seeking an order declaring that “the political affiliation of members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is prohibited by Section 211(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe”.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are cited as respondents in the application.
Chiwenga was the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and oversaw the military intervention.
Other respondents are the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and Mugabe.
The applicants have given the respondents up to five days to file a notice of opposition.
In November 2017, the military rolled tanks into town following an acrimonious succession battle within the ruling Zanu PF party, which led to the expulsion of Mnangagwa, then Vice-President.
Long touted as a Mnangagwa ally, Chiwenga commandeered an attack against a group of politicians that had coalesced around Mugabe.
While some like then Zanu PF national commissar Savior Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo managed to escape the net of the army, Ignatius Chombo, who was Zanu PF secretary for administration, was captured and kept at an undisclosed location for close to 10 days.
Launching the intervention, the army told Zimbabweans that Mugabe remained safe, but they were only targeting criminals around him.
Mugabe stepped down from office on November 21 and four days later, Mnangagwa was inaugurated as the new president.