'Allow Mugabe to take part in politics,' Mnangagwa advised

2018-03-26 15:51
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.  (Markus Schreiber, AP)

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly been advised to allow ex-president Robert Mugabe to participate in political activities and support any party the former president chooses as long it is within the conscripts of the law.

According to the privately owned Daily News newspaper, political commentators say that President Mnangagwa should charge the ex-president or allow him to participate in political activities like any ordinary Zimbabwean.

The analysts said that while Mugabe's involvement in politics was an irritant to his successor, he was within his rights to take part in politics.

Mnangagwa recently said that he was watching and investigating the former president's involvement in a recently formed political outfit.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said Mnangagwa's political dilemma was that he had been in the veteran leader's government since the 1980s, which made him complicit through the principle of collective responsibility in abuses that the nonagenarian has been accused of.

He said it was unlikely that Mnangagwa will charge Mugabe, but more probable that he would use intimidation to silence the veteran leader.

'Blue Roof' mansion meeting

"If Mnangagwa cannot subject Mugabe to due process like prosecution he should guarantee Mugabe's full rights as a free Zimbabwean citizen. Only a competent and independent court of law can place a legitimate limit on a citizen's rights, including Mugabe," Mavhinga was quoted as saying.

Another analyst, Vivid Gwede, said Mnangagwa's administration lacked understanding on the idea of constitutional rights such as freedom of association, which no one had the power to give or take.

Addressing a Zanu-PF Youth League national assembly in Harare this month, Mnangagwa said that he was "unhappy" about the latest developments, adding that his government was investigating Mugabe's alleged links to the New Patriotic Front (NPF) party. 

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Mugabe has been accused of backing the NPF, which some analysts believe is "a project aimed at protesting his legacy".

Mugabe was reported to have met with a former Cabinet minister and ally Ambrose Mutinhiri at his "Blue Roof" mansion in Harare earlier this month. 

The move rattled the ruling party and Mnangagwa who said he had noted the media reports but was still "investigating".

He said that his government was "examining" the facts and would take the necessary measures once investigations were concluded.

"Currently we see in the media various speculations about his (Mugabe's) activities. I have no doubt that in no time the facts and reality will be made known... We only take a position when the realities and the issues are known and it's factual.

"But, currently we are not happy with what the media is saying. We don't know whether it's correct or not but it's an issue that we're examining. The voice of the people is the voice of God. So, if the voice of the people says this is wrong, then we also say it is wrong. If an individual or group of individuals goes against the current of the voice of the people, then we say you're lost," said Mnangagwa.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  ambrose mutinhiri  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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