Zimbabwe’s Top Lawyer Quits Parliament in Protest

Fadzayi Mahere resigns from her seat in solidarity with former opposition leader Nelson Chamisa

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s leading human rights lawyer and opposition legislator, Fadzayi Mahere, has announced her resignation from parliament in a move that has shocked the nation.

Mahere, who represents the Mt Pleasant constituency in Harare, said she was quitting in protest against the political persecution of her party, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CCC).

She said she was also standing in solidarity with Nelson Chamisa, the former leader of the CCC, who stepped down last week amid a bitter power struggle within the party.

Chamisa, who narrowly lost the 2023 presidential election to Emmerson Mnangagwa, accused some of his former allies of betraying the party’s democratic principles and collaborating with the ruling ZANU-PF.

His resignation triggered a wave of defections and expulsions from the CCC, which had been the main opposition force in Zimbabwe since 2000.

Mahere, who joined the party in 2022, said she had submitted her resignation letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, on Monday. She said she could no longer serve in a parliament that was dominated by ZANU-PF and that did not respect the will of the people.

“I hereby tender written notice of my resignation from parliament with immediate effect in accordance with section 129 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” she wrote on her X account. She added that she would continue to fight for democracy, human rights and social justice in Zimbabwe, and thanked her supporters for their trust and loyalty.

Mahere is the first CCC legislator to resign voluntarily in solidarity with Chamisa, who has not yet revealed his next political move.

Some analysts say Chamisa may form a new party or join forces with other opposition groups to challenge Mnangagwa’s rule. Others say he may face legal challenges from his former colleagues, who claim to be the legitimate leaders of the CCC.

The party has also faced a crackdown from the government, which has accused it of fomenting violence and unrest in the country.

Zimbabwe is facing a deep economic and social crisis, worsened by the effects of climate change, corruption and sanctions. The country has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, and more than half of its population lives in poverty. Many Zimbabweans have expressed their frustration and anger at the lack of political change and accountability in the country.

They have also called for dialogue and reconciliation among the political actors, and for the respect of human rights and the rule of law. Furthermore, Mahere’s resignation has been hailed by some as a courageous and principled act, and by others as a betrayal and a loss for the opposition. She has also received messages of solidarity and support from other human rights activists and lawyers in Zimbabwe and abroad.

Mahere, who is 38 years old, is a prominent lawyer and advocate for women’s rights, constitutionalism and democracy.

She has represented several high-profile clients, including journalists, activists and opposition figures, who have faced charges of treason, subversion and incitement.

Source: The Herald

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