By Munyaradzi Doma
Former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko intends to seek Presidential Immunity in the case in which he is accused of ordering the illegal release of two Zinara top officials from police custody.
It is said the former Vice President ordered the release of Davison Norupiri and Moses Juma who had been arrested over corruption allegations at Avondale Police Station in 2016 and were waiting to appear in court the next day.
The former Vice President made the indications to approach the Constitutional Court through his lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, after he had initially made an application for his case to be transferred and heard in Bulawayo.
However Harare Regional Magistrate Hosea Mujaya dismissed Mphoko’s application to have his matter transferred to Bulawayo.
In his application to approach the Constitutional Court, the former Vice President raised five questions.
“Whether Presidential Immunity as set out in section 98 of the Constitution extends to acts and or commissions by a Vice President (and former Vice President) who alleges and intends to prove that such acts and or omissions were actuated during the discharge of his or her duties in accordance to section 99 of the said Constitution.
“Whether the defence of Good Faith as enunciated in section 98 (4) of the Constitution is available to a Vice President (and former Vice President) who alleges and intends to prove that such acts and or omissions were actuated during the discharge of their duties in accordance with section 99 of the said Constitution.
“Whether by operation of section 99 and 107 of the Constitution of Defence of “Obedience of Orders” is available to a Vice President (and former Vice President) who alleges and intends to prove that such acts and or omissions were actuated during the discharge of their duties in accordance with section 99 of the said Constitution.
“Whether by operation of section 101 (1) as read with section 207 (2) of the Constitution the President and or Vice President has the immutable authority to direct, intervene, instruct and command the Police Service and its constituent members.
“Corollary to the aforementioned question is the question whether the defence of the claim of right is available to a President or Vice President who intervenes in the activities or functions of the Police Service and its constituent members,” read the application.
The case continues this Friday as the State intends to consider and respond to the application.
It is said after Juma and Norupiri were taken to Avondale Police Station pending their appearance in court on the same day at around 6pm Mphoko, who was at the time the Acting President, went to the police station and criminally abused his duty as a public officer by ordering the immediate release of Juma and Norupiri from lawful police custody.
The Officer-in-Charge stood his ground challenging the unlawful instruction before he later complied with Mphoko’s order under duress and released the two men.
Mphoko drove away with them in his car.
When Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission officials went to Avondale Police Station on the following day intending to take Juma and Norupiri to court, they discovered that police had released them following Mphoko’s orders.