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Zimbabwean Fighting Hard in Court to Get Rid of Mugabe

FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C), surrounded by members of the military, is seen attending 25th anniversary Independence celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe, April 18, 2005.

A Zimbabwean continues to seek the removal of President Robert Mugabe from office even if his original papers disappeared in the Constitutional Court.

Tinomudaishe Chinyoka told VOA Studio 7 that he has hired lawyers in Zimbabwe to work on the court case filed early this year seeking parliament to make a finding that the president is now too old to run Zimbabwe.

“What I have done now is to look for a firm of lawyers to represent us. The process has not been easy because not many lawyers have been willing to be brave enough to be behind such an application. We are trying to have them to push the sheriff by giving them a third set of papers to see if those papers will be filed,” said Chinyoka.

He is not happy that the first court application disappeared at the Constitutional Court.

“We are still waiting to hear from the sheriff what happened to the papers. We are told after two months we sent the papers to them that the papers were missing. We made photocopies (and) gave the sheriff to serve. We have been checking since then and we continue to be told either that the papers cannot be seen or that they have been taken out to be served … and that nobody knows what has happened. You guess is as good as mine.”

In his application, Chinyoka wants the Constitutional Court to make a finding that there is evidence to show that President Mugabe now lacks the mental and physical capacity to carry on as president and must step down.

Mugabe Court Case in Progress
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Chinyoka, a former student leader of the University of Zimbabwe who now lives in Britain, has cited 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 an incident in which Mr. Mugabe once 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 in parliament and that he is always falling asleep during meetings as indications that he is no longer fit to run Zimbabwe.

Tajamuka-Sesijikile campaign filed a similar case on Friday in an effort to put pressure on the 92 year-old Zimbabwean leader to step down for allegedly failing to run the country.

Critics say these court applications stand no chance in a court of law as President Mugabe cannot be removed from power through such means or mere public petitions.

President Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe attained independence from British rule in 1980.

Section 97 of Zimbabwe’s constitution stipulates that a president can be removed from office if the Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least one-half of their total membership, "may resolve that the question whether or not the president or a vice-president should be removed from office for a serious misconduct; failure to obey, uphold or defend this Constitution; willful violation of the constitution; or inability to perform the functions of the office because of physical or mental incapacity...

“Upon the passing of a resolution in terms of subsection (1), the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders must appoint a joint committee of the Senate and the National Assembly consisting of nine members reflecting the political composition of Parliament, to investigate the removal from office of the President or Vice-President, as the case may be.”

It further states that “if the joint committee appointed in terms of subsection (2) recommends the removal from office of the President or Vice-President; and the Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least two-thirds of their total membership, resolve that the President or Vice-President, as the case may be, should be removed from office; the President or Vice-President thereupon ceases to hold office.”

Experts say parliament is unlikely to take this action as of now since Zanu PF currently holds a clear majority in both houses.