The government has moved to domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which prescribes civil-military relations across the continent.
In essence, the Charter seeks to prevent a military takeover of government as happened in Zimbabwe in November 2017.
Presenting the Charter for debate before the Senate on Thursday, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said:
…The Charter binds State parties to institutionalise constitutional civilian control over the armed and security forces to ensure consolidation of democracy and constitutional order.
State parties are also obligated to check legislative and regulatory measures to ensure that those who attempt to remove an elected government are dealt with in accordance with the law.
…The Charter obligates State parties to refrain from using illegal means of accessing or maintaining power. Unconstitutional change of government like a coup d’tat, armed rebellion against a constitutionally elected government, refusal to relinquish power to a winning party in free and fair elections shall draw appropriate sanctions by the (African) Union.
In this case, the Peace and Security Council shall intervene in order to maintain the constitutional order.
This move could be viewed as a step by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to coup-proof itself.
The irony of it all is that Mnangagwa himself is a beneficiary of ‘Operation Restore Legacy’, a euphemism for the coup that swept former President Robert from office in 2017.