By Daniel Chigundu
While under-fire President Robert Mugabe might still remain leader of the country owing to various constitutional provisions, he is however unable to save himself from impeachment.
According to analysts, Mugabe is seriously running out of options as Parliament is likely to impeach him on Tuesday if Zanu PF and the army generals fail to remove him through current negotiations.
Mugabe is said to be refusing to step down adding that he is the legitimate leader of the country and is also reportedly refusing to reinstate ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is being preferred as the suitable successor by the army generals.
The 93 year old veteran politician is said to be preferring his loyalist Sydney Sekeremayi who is also the current Minister of Defence, to take over from him, a move the generals are not happy with.
One school of thought was saying, the President can dissolve Parliament well before it moves a motion to impeach him, but constitutional lawyer Alex Magaisa said Mugabe has no power to do that at the moment
Below are the views of Alex Magaisa on the dissolution of Parliament and impeachment of the President.
According to the constitution there are specific circumstances that an trigger the dissolution of parliament. They are as follows:
i. By operation of law at midnight the day before a general election. This is typically where parliament has a full term. Parliament is dissolved at midnight preceding the first polling day.
ii. Where parliament votes to dissolve itself. The two houses of parliament must pass a special resolution so that parliament dissolves itself.
iii. By the President where parliament has unreasonably refused to pass the budget However, this dissolution can be challenged at the Constitutional Court.
iv. By the President where parliament has passed a Vote of No Confidence in the Government.
v. By operation of law where parliament has passed a Vote of No Confidence and the President fails to act as stipulated in the constitution.
A major source of confusion, as I see it, is that people tend to mix a Vote of No Confidence in Government and Removal of the President (Impeachment). These are two different processes. Where parliament passes a vote of no confidence in government, the President can respond by dissolving parliament which would prompt a general election. However, where parliament votes to remove (impeach) the president the president has NO power to dissolve parliament.
I must add one further point, whenever there is dissolution of parliament, there will have to be a general election which means the posts of president, MPs and councillors will be up for election.