Article published in Fria Tidningen
September 28, 2016
By Thelma Chikwanha
The last few months have seen big protests in Zimbabwe, demanding president Robert Mugabe’s resignation. We have met some of the driving forces behind the protests. “We are fighting for a fair society where financial justice, legal security, and democracy are maintained” , says Promise Mkwananzi.
For the last 2,5 months, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a wave of protests demanding Robert Mugabe’s resignation. In September, this made the authorities announce a ban on protesting – despite it being a constitutional right. That in itself is not new. Zimbabwe’s constitution guarantees democracy and a number of rights, but the juridical system is not always free to exercise its powers to enforce the laws. The authoritarian rule of Robert Mugabe and his ruling party Zanu PF means that many key state nominations are partial, especially within the juridical system.
But this time the Supreme Court went against the state and declared the ban as invalid; a real landmark for the protesting masses.
-What happened last week gave us confidence in the higher authorities’ capacity to enforce the constitution, says Promise Mkwananzi, 28-year old spokesperson for #Tajamuka, the movement spearheading the protests in Zimbabwe.
When I meet Mkwananzi he has just been released from prison. He was arrested on the 25th of August this year, accused of public violence when he took part in a demonstration against police brutality, and was denied the possibility of being released on bail by the county court.
-It didn’t take the Supreme Court more than five minutes to grant my inquiry, says Mkwananzi who claims that his case is a sign that more needs to be done regarding the independence of the juridical instances.
For him personally, a few weeks in prison was a small price to pay for the overall fight.
-We are fighting for a fair society where financial justice, legal security, and democracy are maintained. The resignation of Robert Mugabe is the starting point of that.
Promise Mkwananzi’s beliefs are shared by many of those protesting in Zimbabwe. Everyone believes that Mugabe needs to leave his position for the economy to get back on its feet. The 92-year old president has been in power ever since the country became independent in 1980. The economy is on its knees, and community services have completely collapsed.
Article published in Fria Tidningen, 28 September 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: http://www.friatidningen.se/artikel/124803