A constitutional court application challenging Robert Mugabe’s competence to continue as president hangs in the balance after the case papers somehow disappeared from the Sheriffs Office.
In February this year, prominent lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka filed an application asking the Constitutional Court to make a finding that there exists enough evidence to show that Mugabe now lacks the mental and physical capacity to carry on as president.
In the application Chinyoka argued that the health issues surrounding Mugabe are well documented and that there is growing evidence the 92-year-old no longer has the mental and physically capacity to continue as leader.
Speaking to Nehanda Radio on Thursday evening, Chinyoka confirmed that the Sheriffs Office has still not served the papers on Mugabe claiming the paper work had “disappeared” and could no longer be found.
Two other separate applications made by Chinyoka seek to have the Unity Day scrapped while the other challenges the criteria for selecting national heroes in Zimbabwe.
The President and others have replied to the Unity Day challenge stating that the Constitution does not recognise anything called ‘political rights’, and that the application should should have just cited ‘the President’ and not mention his name.
Alexio Musundire, MP and co-applicant with Chinyoka, has since filed an answering affidavit directing them to section 67 of the constitution which does provide for such rights.
The Heroes Day challenge was served in February but there has not been any reply from Mugabe and others. “But it is the competency challenge that seems to have suffered fate worse than the others” Chinyoka said.
“We filed the application and it was taken to the Sheriff to be served like all the two before. Our expectation was that it would be served within a week or so considering that the Respondents are literally across the road from the Sheriff but we have not received confirmation of service. We were initially told in February to ‘check your returns’ but now we are in May.”
The week ago we were told to ask a Mr Marowero but apparently he is said to be working from an office in Bulawayo. We don’t need to refile, because the application, number 14 of 2016, is at the constitutional court duly filed. What we have now done is go to the court and photocopied it and given to the Sheriff again.
“We are going to assume, since we are not at all suspicious that there might be any nefarious goings on, they were not served and genuinely got lost or were misplaced.
“So are merely asking the Sheriff to serve the application and hopefully not lose it again. After all, we only need one competency application, and have no desire to start widening the net,” Chinyoka told Nehanda Radio.
In one the examples he cited in his application Chinyoka said;
“On or about 4 February 2015, while returning from a trip to Ethiopia, First Respondent (Mugabe) fell awkwardly while descending from a podium at the airport. From the pictures of the event, there does not appear to have been any obstacle that caused this fall, and the awkwardness of the fall appeared to be inconsistent with this obstacle-free environment.”
“The suggestion from this episode is that First Respondent may no longer be physically fit, thus putting into question his fitness for the job of President of the republic.”
“On 21 November 2015, Dr Grace Mugabe, First Respondent’s wife, told a meeting of Zanu PF supporters that she had plans to buy him a special wheelchair so that he can remain in power as long as he can speak.
“Being the only person with intimate knowledge of First Respondent’s physical health, it is my submission that for his wife to talk about buying him a wheelchair, there has to be some medical reason that suggests that his physical ability to mobilise on his own is seriously impaired,” Chinyoka submitted.
“On or about 14 September 2015, at the opening of Parliament, First Respondent read word for word the exact same speech that he had delivered barely 3 weeks earlier when he gave his ‘state of the nation’ address on 25 August 2015.
“Any person with their mental alertness intact would have recognised a speech that they have read only three weeks previously.”
“Media reports have confirmed that First Respondent is a frequent patient at GLENEAGLES Hospital in Singapore. On 19 May 2014, First Respondent was filmed by private media going into the hospital. Media reports since at least 2011 have linked him with this hospital, with speculation that he is undergoing cancer treatment,” Chinyoka submitted.