Zanu PF legislator resigns over ‘military coup’

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A Zanu PF legislator and former minister has resigned from the governing party, saying the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) staged a coup last November and unconstitutionally overthrew former president Robert Mugabe.

Ambrose Mutinhiri, who was Mashonaland East provincial affairs minister before the November events as well as Marondera West Member of Parliament, tendered his resignation to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Muzenda on Friday, citing “illegal replacement” of Mugabe with Emmerson Mnangagwa by the ZDF through a “military coup” on November 15, 2017.

The letter was also copied to Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu.

A retired brigadier general, Mutinhiri said pursuant to the coup Zanu PF, the government and state institutions had been “captured” by the military, which was a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“As a trained soldier, a former freedom fighter, a former ZIPRA commander during the liberation struggle, a former diplomat, and a former cabinet minister, I am too aware of not only the values and ethos of Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle and the subsequent role the founding commanders of the liberation envisaged for the national army in independent Zimbabwe, but also of the functions and limits of the ZDF as enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe authored through a people drive process and adopted after a national referendum as recent as 2013,” he wrote in the letter.

“The fundamental values and tenets of both Zimbabwe’s heroic liberation struggle and the constitution of Zimbabwe dictate that executive authority is derived from the people and not from the gun.

“In other words, the enduring principle of Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle and constitutional democracy is that politics must always lead the gun. The ZDF coup of November 15, 2017 violated a cherished heritage of our armed liberation struggle and of our hard-won constitutional democracy,” he added.

Mutinhiri argued that the November 15 events, which authorities have chosen to say was a military intervention, was a result of a few rogue elements in the command structure of the ZDF, who abused their positions to turn the guns they were entrusted with “by the people of Zimbabwe to defend our sovereignty, into weapons to shoot their way into national politics and to seize control of both the state and Zanu PF”.

He also accused Parliament of failing to uphold the Constitution of Zimbabwe by seeking “to be part of this shameless illegality”.