Brighton Mutebuka, a Zimbabwean lawyer residing in the United Kingdom, argues that while the ruling ZANU PF party has a Constitution and structures on paper, it lacks them in practice. He notes that constitutionalism, which entails respecting and upholding the Constitution, is absent within the party.
Mutebuka argues that this lack of Constitutionalism extends to the national Constitution, resulting in minimal regard for the country’s supreme law. In a post on X, Mutebuka said:
"Why The Political Reality Is That ZANU PF Has Got No Constitution & Structures!
a. On paper ZANU PF has a Constitution and Structures. In reality is has got no culture of Constitutionalism.
b. Constitutionalism refers to the ability and commitment to actually respect the Constitution and uphold its provisions.
c. That lack of Constitutionalism in ZANU PF has been applied to the national Constitution, with the result that the supreme law of the land is given token appreciation.
d. Ex-VP (Joice) Mujuru and others were unconstitutionally expelled from ZANU PF in 2015 at the height of the “Gamatox” & “Weevil” factional fighting. There was no due process as they were summarily dismissed.
e. We saw the same during the vicious G40 v Lacoste succession politics. All it took was a few rallies and the dreaded “no confidence votes”, followed by Baba VaMugabe’s word, which was final.
f. The most recent ZANU PF party primary elections were plagued by violence and charges of the use of ammunition, FAZ & CIO so much so that many, including (Lazarus) Dokora were terrified into withdrawing their candidature, which is clearly unconstitutional.
g. In November 2017, (Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa) ED was unconstitutionally expelled from both government & ZANU PF. A few weeks later, he the returned the favour after staging an audacious coup, effectively using a state institution, the Army to resolve an internal political party dispute between rival factions.
h. Him & his group summarily expelled (Robert Mugabe) Bob & G40. ED was reinstated without any due process being carried out. Ex VP Mphoko was also clearly unlawfully dismissed from his role. One minute it was said the structures voted ED out and the next moment it was said it was vice versa, which is clearly political madness!
i. Ex government Minister Jonathan Moyo, who is currently in exile previously disclosed that he worked with (Constantino) Chiwenga in previous elections to campaign for ZANU PF even though the latter was Commander of the ZNA and precluded from participating in politics.
j. In April-June 2008 in the Presidential Run-Off sham election, soldiers were deployed nationwide even though it was clearly unconstitutional to do so."
According to Mutebuka, the Judiciary in Zimbabwe has shown a willingness to disregard the Constitution when it serves political interests. He said they supported the 2017 coup which propelled President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power and allowed the Chief Justice Luke Malaba and other Supreme Court justices to return to office, despite it being against constitutional principles.
He also noted that the payment of US$400K to judges before elections was unconstitutional, raising concerns about their integrity and independence. Mutebuka argues that ZANU PF has never had a peaceful transfer of power, showing a lack of respect for the Constitution. He believes that a few powerful individuals control party and state power, determining when to uphold or ignore the Constitution for their own advantage.
Mutebuka believes that only a few individuals in Zimbabwe, both within political parties and the state, truly understand and respect Constitutions and Constitutionalism. He states that the country has a long way to go in terms of embracing these principles. Currently, there is a tendency to superficially adhere to Constitutions for show, but in reality, true respect is lacking. Mutebuka calls for actions to match the rhetoric if genuine change is desired in Zimbabwe.