Zimbabwe’s catch 22- how to legally get Mugabe to leave office


Vote of No Confidence

Although both Houses of Parliament sitting together could pass a vote of no confidence in the Government in terms of section 109 of the Constitution, the vote would not necessarily result in the President leaving office.  The President would have two options under section 109(4):

•             To remove all Ministers and Deputy Ministers from office and appoint new ones in their place.

•             To dissolve Parliament and call a general election within 90 days.

If the President took the first option he would stay in office with a new set of Ministers;  if he took the second there would have to be a general election within 90 days.

Recall of the President

Several provincial structures of the President’s party, ZANU-PF, have resolved that the President should not only be expelled from the party but also recalled as President.

There is no provision in the country’s Constitution for a President to be recalled by his or her party nor for voters to vote in a referendum, or sign a petition, calling for the President to step down.

The only way for him to be removed from office constitutionally, outside a general election, is for Parliament to impeach him.


1.  Impeachment is a Political Process

Impeachment means charging the holder of an office – in this case the President – with misconduct and removing him from office if he is found guilty.

The first thing to remember is that it is essentially a political process rather than a legal one.  The decision to impeach a head of State and to remove him or her from office, if found guilty, is made on political rather than legal grounds.  The Constitution does however lay down a procedure for impeachment.

2.  Procedure for Impeachment in the Constitution

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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