The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) has noted with grave concern that the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa claims to have facilitated the release of Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance Principal Officer) on bail after his abduction from the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Through the President of Zimbabwe’s official twitter account, the President of Zimbabwe was quoted saying:
STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF TENDAI BITI
Tendai Biti was released earlier today following my intervention.
At such a crucial time in the history of the new Zimbabwe, nothing is more important than unity, peace and dialogue. (1/3)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) August 9, 2018
By saying that he ‘intervened’ means that he instructed the court to release Biti on bail. The President’s interference sends worrying messages since Section 164 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe prohibits any such interference with the judiciary. The State nor any institution or agent of the government at any level, and no other person, may interfere with the functioning of the courts.
Mr. Alouis Chaumba, the Regional Coordinator of ACT-SA protests that President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa violated the Constitution of Zimbabwe and also lambasted the Judiciary for allowing themselves to be captured.
“What is crystal clear is that President Mnangagwa violated the Constitution by instructing the court to release Biti. The independence, impartiality and effectiveness of the courts are central to the rule of law and democratic governance. This is just a tip that he may interfere with the judiciary in the election petition which will force all of us to get worried” he says.
Furthermore, Mr. Chaumba raised alarm that, President Mnangagwa may have interfered with the operations of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) in the management of the July, 30 Zimbabwean plebiscite, which produced highly contested results.
“Now it is becoming clear that President Mnangagwa interfered with the operations of ZEC, which explains why ZEC subverted the will of the people and hence the current contestations. ZEC has been captured.” he adds.
ACT-SA hopes that appropriate action should be taken to ensure that the media remains independent.
Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)