Unconstitutional madness! – top lawyer demands retraction from “partisan” army commander Sanyatwe within 7 days

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By Tapiwa Svondo

TOP lawyer Thabani Mpofu has written to Zimbabwe National Army Commander Anselem Sanyatwe demanding a retraction of his statements declaring his allegiance to Zanu PF, failure of which the advocate says he will pursue appropriate remedies under the law.

This comes after a video of Sanyatwe declaring his support for the ruling party surfaced online.

“Zanu PF will rule until donkeys grow horns” through the use of “command voting”, Sanyatwe says addressing a gathering Nyanga North constituency, which his wife Chido Sanyatwe represents as a Member of Parliament.

He promises to use force for those against it and brags that as head of the army, what he says goes.

In the letter dated 3 July 2024, Mpofu wrote, “Sir, it has come to my attention that you have been recorded addressing a gathering of multitudes in the following manner (per my translation): Zanu (PF) shall rule until donkeys grow horns, whatever your stated and expressed wishes. I am now speaking as the Commander of the Army. We shall use what is called Command Voting. Do we understand each other? Forward with Zanu (PF), Forward with (PF)… Forward with ED Mnangagwa. Down with the enemy”.

He adds that the statements violate the Zimbabwean Constitution, the Electoral Act and the Defence Act.

The Constitution stipulates that a member of the security service must not act in a partisan manner.

Added Mpofu, “Section 155 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), by threatening to rig elections in favour of ZANU (PF) and against the opposition.

“The First Schedule to the Defence Act (Chapter 11:02) in that your conduct in uttering the above statements was unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman as it amounted to willful and wanton violation of the Constitution and laws of Zimbabwe.

The top lawyer has given Sanyatwe a 7-day ultimatum to unconditionally withdraw his statements, failure of which he will pursue “appropriate remedies under the law”.

Meanwhile, in a statement the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition condemned the military’s involvement in partisan politics, noting that the Zimbabwean Constitution directs the defence forces to serve national, rather than partisan, interests.

“His utterances demonstrate a complete disregard for the Constitution, which directs the defence forces to serve national rather than partisan interests.

“Zimbabwe’s constitution has been under threat due to numerous amendments by the ruling party, ZANU PF, which has used its parliamentary majority to introduce draconian laws aimed at entrenching its political power and further closing the democratic space in Zimbabwe. The militarization of key institutions and the determination to create a one-party state also present a significant obstacle to attaining an independent and democratic state in Zimbabwe,” reads part of the statement.