HARARE – Zimbabwe’s rule of law is sacrosanct and not tailored to please other countries or one particular group of people but all citizens, the President has said.
President Mnangagwa said the law is there for the good of the country and all citizens and organisations operating in the country should abide by the law regardless of their standing.
He said this while responding to European Union (EU) Head of Delegation Mr Timo Olkkonen, who sought to smuggle issues of human rights abuse during the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and National Prosecuting Authority Anti-Corruption Awareness Campaign launch in Harare yesterday.
Diverting from his prepared keynote address, President Mnangagwa shot back saying: “Your Excellency (Mr Olkkonen) you referred to human rights. However, this platform was for corruption. May I urge civil society to restrict themselves to their mandate.
“The rule of law observance is not needed for the purposes of pleasing other countries, we need it because it is proper for ourselves.”
Mr Olkkonen had spoken in support of MDC-Alliance supporters who took to the streets to demonstrate, despite a police Prohibition Order which was upheld by the High Court.
President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic had created democratic space which should not be abused.
“The Second Republic has brought about enhanced democratic space, it is for the good of our people. The few who abuse the democratic space, the rule of law will apply,” he said.
During his speech, Mr Olkkonen had claimed there were recent developments in Zimbabwe that brought constitutionalism and the respect for the rule of law into question.
“People’s civic rights, such as the right of assembly, and the right to peacefully demonstrate and petition and also the right to due legal processes when suspected of crimes must be respected. Zimbabwe must show that it genuinely has made a break from the past,” he said.
On Tuesday, Government hit back at Western countries after they issued a statement which appeared to condone violent behaviour of the Zimbabwean opposition, while condemning authorities’ stance against lawlessness.
Government described a statement issued by Heads of Mission of the Delegation of the European Union (EU), France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada and the United States of America as portraying “intrusive and judgmental attitude”.
Last Friday, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) dispersed groups of MDC-Alliance supporters who took to the streets to demonstrate, despite a police Prohibition Order which was upheld by the High Court.
The opposition had applied to hold a demonstration on August 16 in Harare, while other demonstrations — seen as a way to unseat the constitutional Government through lawlessness — were slated for other cities and towns, but authorities turned the application down.