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Will Constitutional Application Seeking Mugabe Ouster Work?

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, center, falls after addressing supporters, at Harare International Airport upon his return from an African Union summit in Ethiopia, Feb. 4, 2015.

A British-based Zimbabwean lawyer, who filed an application asking the Constitutional Court to make a finding that there is evidence to show that President Robert Mugabe now lacks the mental and physical capacity to carry on as president and must step down, says his lawsuit aims at putting pressure on parliament to probe Mr. Mugabe’s capability to continue at the helm.

Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, a former student leader of the University of Zimbabwe, cites Section 97 of the Zimbabwe Constitution that calls for the stepping down of the president if he is mentally or physically incapacitated.

In the application filed on Friday, Chinyoka cites as respondents, President Mugabe, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who is also vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, Speaker of the House of Assembly Jacob Mudenda, Senate president Edna Madzongwe and the government of Zimbabwe.

The application cites the incident where Mr. Mugabe, who turns 92 this month, slipped and fell as one of the indications that he is no longer able to physically run the country.

He also cites a number of gaffs that Mr. Mugabe has made, which include re-reading a speech that he presented a few weeks before and that he is always falling asleep during meetings as indications that he is no longer fit to run the country.

Chinyoka told VOA Studio 7 that he hopes that the court will force parliament to institute an investigation into the president.

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But constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said the case has no legal basis.

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Meanwhile, another Zimbabwean Owen Kuchata of the opposition Zimbabwe People Front, appeared in court Friday facing charges of sabotage or alternatively terrorism for allegedly attempting to bomb a Gushungo Holdings entity owned by President Mugabe’s family.

According to the Daily News, Kuchata, is set to stand trial after indicating that there was nothing wrong with attacking Mr. Mugabe’s personal property.

He initially pleaded guilty but has now changed his mind on issues related to attacking the person of the president and matters related to him as a Zimbabwean.

Kuchata is said to have teamed up with three other people – Borman Ngwenya, Solomon Makombe and Silas Pfupa to allegedly bomb the farm in Mazowe, Mashonaland central province.

They are facing additional charges of insurgency, banditry and money-laundering. They were remanded to February 16.