Zimbabwe wants ‘popular uprisings’ criminalised

via Zim wants ‘popular uprisings’ criminalised – DailyNews Live  2 JUNE 2014

Zimbabwe has flatly refused to identify itself as an ally of the popular uprisings in North Africa, amid debate in the African Union (AU) that the putsch represented real democratic revolutions.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s Justice and Legal Affairs minister, at the first meeting of government legal experts of the specialised technical committee on Justice and Legal Affairs held recently at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, called for the criminalisation of “popular uprisings.”

Amid debate by African legal experts that people have the right to change their government when all other amicable and constitutional means of replacing that government do not exist, Mnangagwa expressed reservation at a proposal before the working group that the AU stop banning revolutions necessitated by prevailing unconstitutional governance in a country.

“The meeting agreed to propose the text as recommended by the working group for consideration of the ministers along with the following reservations: Zimbabwe — Article 28 E (3) should be expunged from the draft protocol as creating an exemption to the criminalisation of a “popular uprising” would be contrary to the preceding sub paragraph 1, which already criminalises a “putsch” that connotes the same meaning,” said official AU resolutions of the meeting of legal experts held between May 6 – 14.

Historically, Africa has experienced more than 100 coups d’état, but more recently, popular uprisings known as Arab Spring have toppled the leaders of four nations including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen in the past 22 months.

Civilians also have rebelled in Bahrain and Syria. And large-scale protests have occurred in six other nations from Morocco on the Atlantic to Kuwait on the Persian Gulf.

Western countries have played a behind-the-scenes role in the power transfers in Libya and Egypt, with foreign warplanes helping rebels oust Libya’s mercurial Muammar Gaddafi and diplomats helping expedite the departure of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, a 30-year ally of five consecutive American presidents.

The stability brought about by those authoritarian rulers has been replaced by the tumultuous present and an uncertain future that policy makers are scrambling to come to grips with.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council is grappling with these unconstitutional changes of governments or revolutions, and has tasked the legal experts to look into the matter. The AU has legal instruments to deal with unconstitutional changes of government namely the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (the Addis Charter); the Lomé Declaration of July 2000 on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government (the Lomé Declaration).

The legal experts debated a proposal to recognise revolutions as extra-constitutional and therefore different from unconstitutional events, a definition flatly rejected by the Mnangagwa-led delegation.

The argument is that both the letter and the spirit of the AU laws support public demands to ensure the general will of the people and that the normative framework aim at entrenching constitutionalism and establishing constitutional regimes in Africa.

The Peace and Security Council of the AU has adopted a definition of popular uprisings in the context of unconstitutional change of government, setting out the conditions of the African court in exercising this jurisdiction.

It describes “popular uprisings” as an expression of people’s free will against oppressive governments or lack of adherence to the rule of law in their countries.

This will be tabled before the Assembly of the AU, and proposes that the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) should not exercise jurisdiction on unconstitutional changes with respect to popular uprising.

Zimbabwe has rejected this, and wants the ACHPR to hand down harsh punishment on those who engage in popular uprisings.

Proponents of this new paradigm argue that the legislative intentions of the Lomé Declaration and the Addis Charter do not ban revolutions necessitated by prevailing unconstitutional governance in a country. Some in the AU have previously supported popular demands for changes of illegitimate governments, saying the right to revolution is not only an entitlement of the people but also an obligation when a government breaches the trust it enjoyed from the people.

Since revolution is carried out outside the normal procedures of a constitution, it becomes extra-constitutional, proponents for popular revolts say.

From this perspective, revolution is an extra-constitutional legitimate means of replacing a government when the desired change of government is not available through constitutional means

The outcome of the ongoing AU meetings will largely form the basis for a broader debate in the Assembly of the AU on the prevention of unconstitutional changes of government, popular uprisings and their effective resolution on the continent.



  • comment-avatar
    Educated Idiot 8 years ago

    You really dont need to look far to see what is criminal in our midst!

  • comment-avatar
    Petal 8 years ago

    The thieving bufoons have just in another article they will not listen to the people if Valerie Amos who is Head of the UN Humanitarian Agency heard this probably she would freak out – She has just told the Syrians to put the people first

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    Petal 8 years ago

    The thieving scumbag bufoons are turning the country into North Korea

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      Roving Ambassador 8 years ago

      The man has been trying to do that for the past 34 years with his Juche philosophy.
      The people did not by into it . We would all have been zombies by now.

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    KIBBS 8 years ago

    Zimbabwe wants zanupf criminalised – NOW!

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    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    Zimbos u missed u so many chances opportunities since 1980 to get rid of those u and the stupid Brits yanks slopes rigged to power 34 years ago. Mnangagwa is sending u cowards that he means business soon when he ascends to state house. With such messages. Wake up take to streets now whilst u still have the chance. Or forever hold u piece !!!!!!!!??!

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    mandevu 8 years ago

    The door is closing fast. Civil society needs to act now. The government knows that it is vulnerable in that area

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    What is criminal is a 90 year old dementing geriatric holding a nation to ransom while his Biatch of a wife and his friends rob the nation of its resorces.

    Robert and the likes of Emerson should be criminalised.

    • comment-avatar
      Petal 8 years ago

      Hear Hear Hear LUCY AU and SADC and Civil Society and Human Rights organisations and ICC

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    Senzachena 8 years ago

    Emmerson knows full well that it is very likely that a “popular uprising” may well happen in Zimbabwe, all it needs is a spark to light the fire. That is why he is so concerned about this subject, maybe he will dwell on this when the peoples revolution hang him from the nearest lamp post! Enjoy it Emmerson and as you swing think of all the deaths you have caused! Zanu trash

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    Expat 8 years ago

    Amazing a group of people who came to power through a popular uprising now wants them criminalized???? So what are they actually saying? Are they saying that this method of changing a Government is criminal – which puts ZANU PF in the same category or are they now wanting to forget about the history, which is such a large claim to fame for the particular group of people, so that they can not be changed by the same method, because as patient as the people of Zimbabwe are everyone eventually comes to a point where enough is enough!!! And this i think is what they fear.

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    It is interesting that Zanu PF came to power by a popular uprising, but that they now wish to criminalize such popular uprisings. It shows clearly how far Zanu PF has moved from being a party of the people to being a dictatorship.
    Africa needs to start rejecting governments that stay in power by subverting democracy and oppressing their people.

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    kutongwa nonjazi 8 years ago

    The guilty are always, afraid…they run away even when no-one pursues them. That’s a good sign of panicking and awareness of your evil acts Ngwena. WHO KNOWS, YOUR PLANS AND GODS PLANS ARE FAR APART. GOD STILL LOVES ZIMBABWE AND MAY HIS WILL PREVAIL OVER OUR WILLS

  • comment-avatar
    Petal 8 years ago

    poop scared because they will end up like Charles Taylor

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    Twinn 8 years ago

    Animal farm in the making – we are being governed by people with the mind and intelligence of a sponge!

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    Petal 8 years ago

    AU SADC put the people first above these theiving scum bags