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Mnangagwa's heightened coup proofing is unconstitutional

by Staff reporter
28 Oct 2023 at 16:10hrs | Views
In an unprecedented move which may very well be unconstitutional and illegal, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda - popularly known as Cde Gwenzi within the liberation struggle Zipra circles - as an ex-officio member of the Zanu PF decision-making administrative organ, the politburo.

The dramatic move signals a heightened coup-proofing strategy and further militarisation of politics, especially after his recent appointment of Lieutenant-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe as Zimbabwe National Army commander under heavy political pressure from the army.

Sanyatwe, former commander of the Presidential Guard who was instrumental in staging the 2017 coup against the late former president Robert Mugabe, is Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga's close ally and the man Mnangagwa does not trust.

Announcing Sibanda's surprise appointment at the Zanu PF annual conference in Gweru today, Mnangagwa said:

"The amended 2023 Party Constitution gives impetus,  urgency and renewed focus to the socio-economic and political realities of our country towards lifting many out of poverty and into prosperity.

"During the course of the year, we lost one of our Party stalwarts, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga who was the Secretary for People with Disabilities.

"To fill the vacancy, I am appointing, Cde Rose Mpofu of Matabeleland South Province as a Politburo Member and the new Secretary for People with Disabilities. Additionally, 'Cde Gwenzi', General, Phillip Valerio
Sibanda, as an Ex ex-officio member of the Politburo."

However, Section 211 of the constitution says: "The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this constitution."

Sibanda's appointment runs against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

Source - online
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