Tyrant Emmerson Mnangagwa made a bizarre claim on Thursday that he was “upholding constitutionalism.”
On a day 40 war veterans were taken to court later than the constitutional limit of 48-hours, the Zanu PF leader was addressing his party’s Central Committee in Harare, marking the start of an annual conference to be held in Bindura over the weekend.
“Upholding constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the protection and preservation of our rich cultural heritage is sacrosanct,” Mnangagwa told the party faithful.
“This is the true meaning of independence, freedom and democracy.”
As Mnangagwa spoke, dozens of veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war who protested against paltry pensions trudged into court in a human chain, two days after they were arrested in central Harare and prevented from presenting a petition to Mnangagwa.
Lawyers for the 40, taken to court by bus, said they had been detained for more than 48 hours, and had not been informed of the charges when they were rounded up at around 10AM on Tuesday.
Their legal team from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights asked magistrate Barbra Mateko to toss out the charges of participating in an illegal demonstration with intent to promote public violence, citing a violation of their rights. Mateko said she would make a ruling on Friday.
Mnangagwa claimed Zanu PF, in power since 1980, was “well on course to realising the promises we made,” blaming Zimbabwe’s regression on “saboteurs of economic development” whom he vowed to “deal with without fear or favour.”
The 79-year-old seized power from Robert Mugabe following a military coup in 2017, while promising political reforms and vowing to tackle official corruption.
Critics say corruption has gotten worse under his rule, and where Mugabe masked human rights violations by maintaining a veneer of legality, Mnangagwa is not averse to open cruelty and thuggery.
The arrest of the war veterans came just a day after Zanu PF organised nationwide protests against sanctions imposed by western countries on corrupt Zimbabwean elites. Curiously, prosecutors say on a charge sheet for the war veterans that “the country is still under national lockdown level 2 and all demonstrations are suspended.”
MDC Alliance deputy leader Tendai Biti said: “Emmerson Mnangagwa has lost it completely and it’s now a question of when, not if. This abuse of human rights, closure of space and abuse of veterans is a new low even by the low, non-existent standards of this vapid, vacuous regime.” ZimLive