Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the constitutional application by the National Constitutional Assembly leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku to nullify the appointment of the two VPs of Zimbabwe is “mischievous” and must be dismissed.
Prof Madhuku last year challenged the appointment of VPs Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko saying it was unconstitutional.
He also contested the assignment of VP Mnagagwa and VP Mphoko to double their duties as Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation respectively.
Prof Madhuku argued that Section 103 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe does not allow serving Vice Presidents to hold any other public office.
In his founding affidavit, Prof Madhuku said the decision was against the will of the people who contributed to the crafting of the Constitution.
Prof Madhuku said since President Mugabe decided to work with one Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru in 2013 after his election, he cannot now make a U-turn and appoint two to replace Dr Mujuru.
However, in an opposing affidavit filed by the Attorney General’s Office recently, VP Mnangagwa urged the court to throw out the application.
“On the basis of the foregoing, I therefore, humbly submit that applicants’ application is not only entirely without merit, but is mischievous and it should, therefore, be dismissed with costs on the higher scale,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa scoffed at the application by Prof Madhuku saying such a substandard case was not expected of a professor.
“I have perused and understood the founding affidavit of Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the second applicant and respond thereto in the paragraphs that follow.
“I have, however, always assumed that the term ‘Professor’ which appears in his name was a professional title or designation, and not part of his name. No doubt, I was wrong in this assumption,” said VP Mnangagwa.
He defended President Mugabe’s actions saying they were supported by law.
“In any event, I respectfully submit that the provisions of paragraph 14(2) (a) and (b) (of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution) fully authorises first respondent (President Mugabe) to act in the manner that he did in initially appointing one Vice President and then subsequently two Vice Presidents after dismissing the initial appointee.
“I believe that the problem applicants suffer from is that they fail to read and interpret the Constitution as a living or organic document which adapts itself to a variety of situations or circumstances in order to achieve the purpose intended by its makers,” said VP Mnangagwa.
He also submitted that the President was legally correct in assigning the VPs to the ministerial duties.
“Finally, with regard to the assignment by first respondent of the administration of certain ministerial duties, I respectfully submit that first respondent is authorised to make the assignment in terms of the specific provisions of Section 99 of the Constitution, and that the reference to appointment to ‘any other public office’ in Section 103 of the Constitution excludes the specific provisions of Section 99 as both sections appear under the same Part 2 of Chapter 5 of the Constitution dealing with ‘The Executive’.
“Applicants’ submissions that the assignments made by first respondent are unconstitutional is therefore, entirely, without merit, and should be dismissed by this honourable court,” reads the affidavit.
VP Mnangagwa challenged the citation of the two VPs as respondents by names in the constitutional application.
“I wish to object to the manner of my citation in these proceedings, and also that of third respondent (VP Mphoko).
“Both of us are VPs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and that should have been included in our citation in order for the provisions of the State Liabilities Act to have been complied with.
“In the event those provisions were not complied with, and the proceedings against us should, therefore, be struck out merely on the basis of such non-compliance,” he said. The parties are yet to file heads of argument before the matter is set down for hearing.