CHOMBO SLAMMED FOR ABUSE OF POWER OVER GRACE THREATS | Opposition parties and protest movements under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) have castigated Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo for threatening to arrest those criticising the First Family.
This comes after Chombo said police must arraign everyone criticising the first family, in apparent reference to Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, who came out recently with a T-shirt which castigated the First Lady as a bad mother.
“We note with rage, the unrepentant character of Zanu PF of perpetually capturing and abusing State institutions for their partisan interests. The remarks by …Chombo at the recently-held Grace Mugabe solidarity march that ‘those insulting or demeaning Grace Mugabe face imminent arrest’ are not just reckless, they amount to blatant abuse of the constitutional mandate of the police service as qualified in Chapter 11 Section 219 (1) and 219 (3),” Nera Youth Forum said in a joint statement signed by chairman Tawanda Kalonga and information director Davies Mukushwa.
“In particular, his orders that police apprehend anti-Grace citizens are a flagrant breach of Sections 58, 59 and 61 of the Constitution which bestow upon all citizens of the Republic of Zimbabwe freedom of assembly and association, freedom to demonstrate and petition and freedom of expression.”
Recently, Matemadanda was arrested for wearing a T-shirt mocking Grace.
The T-shirt was written; “Control your children first, say war vets. Grace a failed mum; her sons unruly rogues. Failing with only two boys, can’t mother 14 million.”
The first family has been in the eye of a storm, with Grace being a talking point for weeks, following allegations that she assaulted Gabriella Engels, a 20-year-old South African model she found in the company of her sons at a Johannesburg hotel.
“Instead of immortalising Grace Mugabe, we challenge minister Chombo to be exemplary and handover Grace … to the South African courts for prosecution in her alleged grievous assault of …Engels to save the worsening Zimbabwe-South Africa diplomatic ties from further deterioration,” Nera’s statement said.
Civic society groups and opposition political parties both in Zimbabwe and South Africa have been calling for Grace’s prosecution on the allegations.
“ . . . Chombo should be kindly reminded of Section 219(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe which reads: ‘The police service must be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this Constitution’,” Nera said.