This is the third installment of the continuing conversations between Mr. Mawere and Mr. Goodman Musariri aimed at building a bank of hope on the foundational prerequisites or building blocks of a nation-state that speaks to the indomitable human spirit.
The architects of the 2013 Constitution understood the importance of having a faithful President as the head of the executive branch of government and head of state.
The framers of this constitution foresaw that a faithless President could destroy their 33-year experiment in building an open, transparent and accountable system of government.
The first country to build on the basis of a constitution was the United States of America and one of the founding fathers of this noble project, George Mason, warned at the Constitutional Convention, held in Philadelphia in 1787, “if we do not provide against corruption, our government will soon be at an end.”
Mason evoked a well-known historical truth: when corrupt motives take root, they drive an endless thirst for power and contempt for checks and balances.
It is then only the smallest of steps toward acts of oppression and assaults on free and fair elections.
It cannot be disputed that: “A President faithful only to himself–who will sell out democracy and national security for his own personal advantage–is a danger to every Zimbabwean. Indeed, he threatens Zimbabwe itself,” said Mr. Tichaona Mupasiri, Director of Public Policy at JUROL.
Mr. Mawere poignantly remarked: “Impeachment is the Constitution’s final answer to a President who mistakes himself for a monarch.”
Mr. Brian Manyati, a member of the C2C Initiative said: “Aware that power corrupts, our authors of the 2013 Constitution built other guardrails against that error.
The Constitution thus separates governmental powers, imposes an oath of faithful execution, prohibits profiting from office, and guarantees accountability through regular elections.”
Mr. Musariri said: “I know the framers of the Constitution were not naive. They knew, and feared, that someday a corrupt executive might claim he could do anything he wanted as President as was the case in the 33 years of post-colonial experiences.
Determined to protect our democracy, the authors built a safety valve into the Constitution:
A President can be removed from office if Parliament approves articles of impeachment charging him with “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” and if two-thirds of the Senate votes to find the President guilty of such misconduct after a trial.
It is for this reason that the significance of the s167(2)(d) as read with s167(3) of the Constitution has yet to be understood.
The Mupasiri challenge that he has so far prosecuted is a self-actor is a landmark and a pathfinder that no crowd is required to hold the most powerful citizen of Zimbabwe to account for what he knows and his conduct before the Constitutional Court.
This weapon ensures that no one is above the law but subject to it was exclusively given to the Constitutional Court.
Concerns have been expressed about the independence and impartiality of this apex court to discharge the obligation that is vested in it to determine if the President has fulfilled his oath of office.
It is trite that the President holds the ultimate public trust for he is vested with powers so great that they frightened any ordinary citizen.
We expect the President in exchange for the trust bestowed upon him by the people, he swears an oath to faithfully execute the laws that hold those powers in check.
This oath is no formality.
“The power of impeachment is not one expected in any government to be in constant or frequent exercise,” yet in terms of s2(2) of the Constitution, this power is vested in all citizens.
When faced with credible evidence of extraordinary wrongdoing, however, it is incumbent on us the citizens to investigate and determine whether impeachment is warranted.
It is the apex Court that is enjoined to inquire “into whether sufficient grounds exist for it to exercise its Constitutional power to conclude whether the President’s conduct constitutes a breach of his oath.”