Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a news conference at State House in Harare in 2018. File picture: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a news conference at State House in Harare in 2018. File picture: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa's legitimacy as Zanu PF leader challenged in court

By Agence de Presse Africaine Time of article published Oct 25, 2021

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Harare - A member of the youth league of Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF has launched a court bid to challenge the constitutionality of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2017 ascendancy to power in a move expected to shake the country’s political core.

Sybeth Musengezi has filed papers before the Harare High Court in which he wants the 19 November 2017 Zanu PF Central Committee meeting that removed former president Robert Mugabe from the helm of the party and installed his then estranged deputy, Mnangagwa, as new leader to be declared unconstitutional.

According to Musengezi, various provisions of the ZANU PF constitution were violated during the hastily convened “kangaroo” special central committee session in the organisers’ bid to toppleg Mugabe from the position of party and national president.

“All of this was done outside the provision of the Zanu PF constitution, which clearly stipulates that the secretary of administration of Zanu PF is the only one who could convene a session of the central committee in the exercise of his or her powers,” Musengezi said during an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

He added: “But unfortunately for reasons known to the individuals who convened the meeting, the secretary for administration did not convene the session of the central committee.”

The meeting was allegedly convened by Patrick Chinamasa who was the secretary for legal affairs in the party.

He cited another anomaly about the way the meeting was handled, arguing that the Zanu PF constitution stipulates that only the party president can preside over central committee meetings and, in his or her absence, the deputy president or chairperson can preside over the proceedings.

None of the three chaired the meeting nor were they invited to attend the gathering, making the special session an illegal gathering, according to Musengezi.

Mnangagwa came to power under controversial circumstances following an army-led transition that toppled Mugabe who had ruled Zimbabwe for more than 37 years.

His ascendancy to power came a few weeks after he had been fired by Mugabe for alleged “disloyalty and conduct inconsistent with his official duties”.

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