The National Patriotic Front yesterday told the visiting Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa pre-election observer team that Zimbabwe cannot have free and fair elections because the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration came to power in November last year through a “coup” that was specifically staged to grab power and enshrine it in the hands of the military.
“It is NPF’s considered submission that the military state in Zimbabwe cannot, by definition, hold free, fair and credible elections simply because an illegitimate government born out of the subversion of the Constitution cannot be entrusted with its upholding,” the party said in a petition handed over to the COMESA team.
The NPF is reported to have the backing of former President Robert Mugabe and is allegedly being financed by his wife Grace.
“We submit to you that your observer team analyses the implications of the holding of a free, fair, and credible elections by a military government whose top officials, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo are the face of the November 15, 2017 coup which was staged to avert an imminent ZANU-PF electoral loss in the forthcoming elections,” the petition said.
Party spokesman Jealousy Mawarire said he had also given the team the “coup” minutes to show the real reason for the take-over.
“The coup minutes submitted herein, make it clear that the army, fronted by now Vice-President Chiwenga and minister Moyo staged the coup for political and electoral reasons,” he said.
“It is trite that we make reference to the statements from senior members of the current illegitimate government on how the military is going to influence the next election.
“On Wednesday May 23, 2018, while your team was already in the country, Finance deputy minister Terrence Mukupe was quoted by a local daily newspaper saying ‘Army won’t let Chamisa rule’.
“A day later, a regional paper, Masvingo Mirror, quoted one of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s key allies, Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Josaya Hungwe alleging that ‘Mnangagwa will shoot to stay in power’.”
Mawarire’s petition comes in the wake of two court cases which are also seeking to bar Mnangagwa from calling elections.
In one case two opposition parties argued that Mnangagwa must not announce election dates until the Political Parties Finance Act has been amended to enable the government to fund all registered political parties.
This case has already been heard by the Constitutional Court but judgment was reserved.
In the other case an opposition party argues that Zimbabwe currently has no president because Mnangagwa came to power through a coup, so no one can call elections.
Mawarire is not new to election controversy.
In 2013 he took President Mugabe to court to force him to hold the elections on or before 31 July and won the case.