Dearest Mr President
Some Zimbabweans get sorely frustrated to a point where they opt to use expletives in respect of you. Some – in your own party, as you will no doubt be aware, plot your downfall behind your back. Some ignore what you have to say and get on with the business of living.
I operate slightly differently – I listen to what you have to say – and I think – and critically. Mr President, I cannot help thinking. I am a slave to reason. I think about everything – big or small. When something does not make sense to me, it nags me like an itch I can’t reach. I try to ignore it and try and move on with my daily life – but the itch doesn’t go away. So I have been thinking about your speech yesterday, addressed to war veterans but touching on us all. I actually tuned in. Afterwards, I tried to continue as though nothing had happened but I couldn’t. I am itching and I cannot reach. Arising from what you said, therefore, I have a few questions to ask and observations to make. I say everything with respect and don’t intend to insult or subvert you – I genuinely wish to understand.
Were you just kidding around when you enacted the Constitution together with Parliament on the 22nd of May 2013? Was it all a sham? Have you changed your mind perhaps about what you were signing into law? If you have, surely you’d have to change the Constitution before you start acting so contrary to it?
Until it is changed, surely it is binding – on you, on me, on everyone?
You said many things in your address yesterday but what struck me most was your assertion that “once [citizens] begin to get involved with our politics you are courting real trouble, we know how to deal with our enemies who have been trying all along to effect regime change.” This was addressed inter alia to#thisflaggers. What I understood this to mean is that we cannot, as ordinary people, question our politicians or speak out against issues we feel may need to change. It also appears implicit that we are not, in exercising our political choices, entitled to disagree with you in particular and Zanu PF in general.
Surely this threat runs directly counter to our rights under section 67 of the Constitution? Section 67(1)(b) of the Constitution gives us the right to make political choices freely – in other words without you calling us enemies, threatening to unleash the police on us or calling us “nonsense.” Section 67(2)(a) proceeds to give us the right to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of our choice. The Constitution thus allows us to join and participate in the activities of #thisflag. Section 67(2)(b) allows us to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause. #thisflag is a cause we choose to campaign for. Surely, we cannot be hindered in doing so? Free means free – without the threat of reprisals.
Most crucially, Mr President, section 67(2)(d) allows us to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner (including #thisflag posts on social media) in peaceful activities to influence, CHALLENGE or SUPPORT the policies of the government or *any* political party or *whatever* cause. This section accordingly allows me to CHALLENGE the policies of the Government and Zanu PF and to SUPPORT #thisflag.
These are my constitutional rights as a citizen. Section 2 of the Constitution (not I) provides that the Constitution is the SUPREME law of Zimbabwe (in other words it overrides the Constitution of Zanu PF or your personal sentiments on any issue). *Any* law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. The inescapable conclusion therefore, is that to the extent that you undermined my political rights guaranteed by section 67 in your speech yesterday, your conduct in so doing was unconstitutional and invalid.
With all due respect, Mr President, this is not an insult or subversion. It’s the law, the supreme law that you agreed to, enacted and promised to respect.
Have a lovely, lovely day.
Adv F Mahere