By Maximilian Lion

There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen Lenin said. This week, decades happened in Zimbabwe.

This week saw the completion of transforming Zimbabwe from a sovereign and democratic state into a fusion of dictatorship and monarchy.

This was made possible by the unreasonable Judgments of the judiciary over the past two days.

12 members belonging to the opposition party, Citizens for Coalition Change (CCC) were blocked from running for parliament based on a technicality. The Judges were of the view that they filed their papers after the stipulated time of 16:00pm.

The electoral body, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had submitted that the papers were filed on time. The court overruled ZEC and effectively said the papers were not filed on time.

Convention provides that you can still file your papers after the closing time as long as you get to the court before the deadline. The 12 CCC members allege that they arrived way before closing time as confirmed by ZEC.

Yesterday, former youth minister and Zanu PF Commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere was again blocked by the court from running for President.

A lower court held that he had been out of the country for 18 months and classed as generally not living in the country. His appeal to a higher court was dismissed but the judges did not give reasons for dismissing the appeal.

Reasons will be given at a later date. Elections are less than a month away, common sense would have provided that the magnitude of this case warrants reasons why a presidential candidate cannot run for President.

Saviour Kasukuwere is currently living in neighbouring South Africa after the coup of 2017 which forced him to go into exile.

His safety is not guaranteed even though he has visited Zimbabwe a number of times. Although he’s in the same party as President Mnangagwa, he had decided to run as an independent due to the tension between the two of them.

His popularity within Zanu PF was going to split the votes in the party and make it easy for the opposition CCC to get a majority, or potentially a government of national unity between the opposition and Saviour Kasukuwere. It’s inferred as the main reason for blocking him from running for President.

This matter is not helped by the fact that Judges were given loans of up to US$500 000 each a month ago by President Mnangagwa. History shows that such monies are not paid back.

They are deemed to have a compromising effect especially in the administration of justice. Last month, the President signed into law, a bill that makes it illegal to criticise the President under the guise of patriotism.

The events that materialised in court this week show the manifestation of assaulting the constitution and rule of law from the time President Mnangagwa got into power through a coup in 2017.

The prospect of staying in power after these court Judgments is highly likely unless a miracle were to happen. Many fear what Zimbabwe will look like in 5 years given the devastation of the past 5 years.

The manner in which President Mnangagwa captured state institutions and resources cannot be strictly classed as dictatorship. It’s way more than that.

It is the same as reversing the Magna Carta on the premise that people don’t deserve human rights, choosing a government of their choice and laws to protect them and their property. He effectively crowned himself King. He sees himself as lord of all the people and animals in Zimbabwe. Everyone must bow down to him.

He silenced the constitution from the day he drove the army tanks through the capital city. The courts and judiciary work strictly to advance his objectives by ensuring that those who demand their rights are defeated as well as any formidable political opponents.

The Constitutional Court did not know how many votes he got in the last election but he was declared President. The realm in which the Judiciary is functioning right now is frightening. There are people in prison without a trial like Job Sikhala who has been in prison for more than a year.

Jacob Ngarivume is in prison on questionable grounds. In addition to that, there are many political prisoners who were let down by the justice system.

The opposition cannot campaign as they wish because they are always frustrated by the police who turn down their requests to campaign. In sabotaging the opposition from campaigning, the police appear as if they are the Constitutional Court. It’s absurd how the police operate like an extension of the government’s arm.

The President has a strong grip on the country’s resources especially diamond mines, lithium, gold and even the fertile land for agriculture. He is exceedingly wealthy while the country is a failed state.

The economy is dead.

There is no appetite to fix the economy so people can get on with their lives. It’s designed for people to be dependent on the state and have no options at all. People with no options are seen as easy to control hence no sense of urgency on creating a competitive economic environment. The President’s strategy works well if people are struggling to make ends meet. Miserable people are not a threat.

Zimbabweans are stuck with a President they did not vote for, their constitution is no longer in force. It has been suspended as no one can derive any rights or benefit from it. There is no fair access to courts, they cannot build their lives through the economic system.

They live at the mercy of King Mnangagwa.


Every Zimbabwean knows that the liberation war generation went to war to fight for one man one vote and defeat colonisation. They said they went to war because they wanted a democratic country. They did not have any rights under the colonial system.

This Zimbabwean dream came true but it has turned into a nightmare.

No one expected someone who went to war for Zimbabwe to carry out a coup against his country. No one expected leaders to behave as if they had colonised their own country. No one thought the people would be denied the right to choose their own President and government.

The current government and style of leadership is contrary to the promises made by the liberation war leaders. There is a clear betrayal of the liberation war ethos and legacy.

There is a constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe and at its core is greed and selfishness. Power must return to the people. There must be a separation of powers and peaceful transfer of power.

The constitution must be given the weight it deserves because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

*The writer is Financial Law & Corporate Governance | Modern Statecraft.