Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Zimbabwe Defense Forces Hailed for Upholding Rights
November 16, 2017
Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter

Legal experts have extolled the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) for its political stabilisation intervention, which they say was done in the spirit of national interest and security. In addition, the legal experts said the intervention was done in accordance with the dictates and tenets of the Constitution and in respect of Sadc and AU security protocols. They also applauded the fact that the intervention was done in a way that prevented bloodshed, promotes peace and national development.A top Harare lawyer, who declined to be identified, said the ZDF acted with considerable restraint and commendable respect for the Constitution of Zimbabwe, its people and the incumbent President.

“It must be emphasised that the actions of the army are constitutionally permissible, legally justified and totally warranted,” he said speaking on condition of anonymity. The military has received everyone’s imprimatur and support across the political divide. A new era has dawned. The true heroes of Chimurenga/Umvukela have stood up and have been counted. Brave Zimbabwe Defence Forces.”

Another lawyer, Mr Tendai Toto, said the military acted within the precincts of their defined obligations under the country’s Constitution, in particular Section 212. The section provides for the constitutional function of the ZDF to protect Zimbabwe, its people, its national security and interests and its territorial integrity and to uphold the Constitution.

“It is from these provisions that the ZDF has invoked military constitutionalism in a positive and non-abusive manner,” said Mr Toto. He said the status quo emanated from an imminent threat to national security, further social and economic harm to the people of Zimbabwe.

“It is the function of the ZDF to protect the threatened interests of security and the interests of the people of Zimbabwe in general,” said Mr Toto.

“That said, the impugned threats compelled the ZDF to take corrective measures to pursue and promote the steady progression, peace and the stability of the country. Thus, is the positive employment of military constitutionalism.” The ZDF, he said, did not deploy the defence forces to dislodge the elected President from political and civil power.

“The ZDF emphatically reaffirmed President Mugabe as the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF,” he said.

“They have also not made a declaration that they have taken over the administrative functions of Government. They have encouraged all and sundry, civil and private servants and all services to continue in a normal way. Effectively, no coup d’état has occurred therefore,” he said.

Mr Toto said the defence forces presence in the public sphere and at certain institutions were providing the required assistance in the maintenance of public order as they carried out the forestated corrective measures.

Advocate Webster Chinamhora said: “The army has assured the nation that the intervention aims to arrest a deteriorating political situation. I hope a mechanism will be put in place for a swift return to civilian rule. If they have a transitional governance arrangement in mind, it ought to be inclusive.”

Adv Chinamhora said ultimately there should be a progression to democratic elections so that the intervention would not lose credibility and be seen as a disguised subversion of the constitutional process. The ZDF announced yesterday that they had taken corrective measures to address political, social and the economic situation in the country, which they said risked degenerating into violent confrontation.

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