Mnangagwa pushes for criminalization of democratic uprisings

Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
03 June 2014

Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the criminalization of popular uprisings, such as occurred in North Africa, during which many oppressive regimes have been swept away.

Mnangagwa made his call during a meeting of legal experts from the African Union member states which was held in Ethiopia recently.

Reports said other legal experts argued that people have a right to change tyrannical governments and proposed that the AU should cease banning revolutions necessitated by repressive rule. But Mnangagwa expressed his reservations about the proposal and called for the criminalization of the uprisings.

The AU, which has been criticized for overlooking repressive rule in some of its member states, has tasked legal experts to look into how the body can deal with unconstitutional changes of governments. The move comes after repressive governments in countries like Egypt, Libya and Tunisia were toppled during the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.

However, despite Zimbabwe’s resistance the Peace and Security Council of the AU has adopted a new definition of popular uprisings which describes them ‘as expression of people’s free will against oppressive government or lack of adherence to the rule of law in their countries.’ It will now be tabled before the Assembly of the AU.

Zimbabwe is seen as a repressive regime with elections routinely marred by violence and the outcomes disputed. The police and the army act with impunity disrupting peaceful gatherings such as prayer meetings, discussion forums and demonstrations.

Is ZANU PF getting nervous of a popular uprising?

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