By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will not be removed from State House through filing of petitions to parliament by disgruntled citizens, Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda has said.
Speaking in Chinhoyi Tuesday during an interactive session with civic society organisations and the media, Mudenda said Mnangagwa will only be removed from office through free and fair elections.
The Zanu PF politburo member said citizens should petition Parliament highlighting various socio-economic and political challenges affecting their livelihoods and use their Constitutional right to vote to effect change in political administration.
The right to petition, Mudenda said, was enshrined in Section 149 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“Every citizen and permanent citizen of Zimbabwe has a right to petition Parliament as provided for in Section 149 of the Constitution…If you’re writing don’t play hide-and-seek, say your names. If it’s an organisation say who composes it and whether you’re receiving funding from somewhere.
“This is because some organisations get funding from some organisations which run with the regime change agenda. Regime change doesn’t come through petitions but through votes,” said Mudenda.
Mudenda played an instrumental role in piling pressure on late former President Robert Mugabe to voluntarily relinquish power in November 2017.
He presided over Parliament when impeachment proceedings against the long-serving leader were instituted.
Mugabe, however, stepped down following pressure from the military with support from citizens to leave his job.
Said Mudenda, “Petitions are primarily aimed at influencing the enactment, amendment or repeal of legislation to improve people’s livelihoods.
“Right now, we’re receiving good petitions regarding livelihoods. For example, if you’re not getting clean potable water here in Chinhoyi, write to the Clerk of Parliament raising these issues so that we deploy responsible committees to investigate.”
Parliament will not entertain petitions that cast aspersions on the person of certain individuals and organisations, he added.
Mudenda said the role that citizens play in the governance of a country goes beyond electing Members of Parliament and Senate.
“The role of citizens in a democracy is not exhausted by electing of a government; they need to be continually engaged. Civic society means not just NGOs (non-governmental organisations) but the body of active citizens working together in many different ways to solve their common problems and promote and defend their interests.”
Mudenda urged citizens to desist from the blame-game but, instead, be proactive in proffering solutions to government in dealing with the current socio-economic and political morass that has bedevilled the country for over two decades.