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Mnangagwa Cites Presidential Immunity In Court Case Seeking His Removal As Zanu PF Leader

FILE - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) is seen at a ZANU-PF congress where he was said to still be consulting on senior party appointments, in Harare, Dec. 15, 2017. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

Lawyers representing President Emmerson Mnangagwa say a sitting president cannot be taken to court as he is protected by the country constitution.

Responding to a case in which Zanu PF member, Sybeth Musengezi, is seeking the removal of the president from the post of Zanu PF secretary, Mnangagwa’s lawyers argue that the president cannot be sued in his personal capacity, according to an online publication, NewsHawks.

The court papers, reports NewsHawks, read in part, “I am advised that Section 98 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe 2013 provides for presidential immunity. It reads as follows: While in office, the President is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any court for things done or omitted to be done in his or her personal capacity; civil or criminal proceedings maybe installed against a former president for things done or omitted to be done or before he or she became president or while he or she was president…”

The lawyers claim that as a result, the High Court “therefore has no jurisdiction to try the president for any cause against him in his personal capacity whilst he is still in office. The provision is part of our constitution which is the supreme (law) of the country and hence is authoritative on that point. The inescapable conclusion is that section (98) of the constitution creates presidential immunity.”

Mnangagwa’s lawyers also argue that Musengezi does not have any legal standing to bring the matter to court. In the papers filed by Obert Mpofu, secretary for administration, acting on behalf of the president and all other respondents, the lawyers further argue that Musengezi took too long to bring the case beyond the prescription years.

The lawyers further claim that Musengezi is not a member of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Musengezi maintains that he is a member of the ruling party. He sent copies of his Zanu PF membership cards to VOA Zimbabwe Service.

Sybeth Musengezi says he is a member of the ruling party contrary to remarks by some people that he is an imposter.
Sybeth Musengezi says he is a member of the ruling party contrary to remarks by some people that he is an imposter.

Musengezi claims that Mnangagwa was not properly elected when the Zanu PF Central Committee convened a meeting in November, 2017, and elected him ruling party secretary.

He argues that the people who convened the meeting, including Mpofu, Patrick Chinamasa and others, did not follow the party’s constitution.

Musengezi says his life is in danger as some suspected Zanu PF members are threatening to kill him for taking the matter to court.

He says as a ruling party member, he has a right to sue Mnangagwa as secretary of the ruling party.