Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said President Robert Mugabe does not joke. If he finds weevils in his government he will definitely remove them.
Mnangagwa was responding to a question by Kuwadzana Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa who wanted to know whether some government ministers will be arrested following the arrest of “the character called Baba Jukwa” and Mugabe’s statement that there were weevils in the government.
“I am sure that His Excellency the President, if he discovers them (weevils), he will always remove them. I have no doubt that the hon. member knows that His Excellency the President, as Head of State, would not make a statement which is empty. For that reason, I am not sure whether he is questioning the integrity of the statement or the content. He has made his question and the answer is, I can assure you, the President does not make light statements.”
On arrests, Mnangagwa said it was the duty of the police and not the executive or his ministry.
“We do not instruct the police to arrest people; otherwise we would instruct even those without any case to be arrested. It is up to the police to take action where they think it is necessary. When they do so, they take the matters to the Judiciary and not to the Executive,” he said.
Q & A:
MR. CHAMISA: Thank you and good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Leader of the House, the Hon. Minister Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. My question is this: we have seen and read in the press of late two very fundamental developments. The first one, His Excellency the President saying that there are weevils within Government. What the President says is very important and very serious. Secondly, we have seen the new development of the arrest of the character called Baba Jukwa. My question is, are we likely to see, because there has been a lot of speculation, the arresting of some very senior Government officials and Ministers, especially considering the fact that His Excellency the President himself has said that there are weevils? Is it not a serious crisis in Government that Ministers can be appointed who are weevils to actually serve in a Government.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the hon. member’s question, the law student. We, in the fraternity of learned people know who are learned. There are two aspects to the question posed by the Hon. Member Mr. Chamisa. He says that he has heard or read about His Excellency the President’s statement and assumes that I also know about it that there are weevils somewhere. I am sure that His Excellency the President, if he discovers them, he will always remove them. I have no doubt that the hon. member knows that His Excellency the President, as Head of State,would not make a statement which is empty. For that reason, I am not sure whether he is questioning the integrity of the statement or the content. He has made his question and the answer is, I can assure you, the President does not make light statements.
With regard to the second aspect, I am not so sure whether the hon. member and the former Minister remembers how Government or the Executive works. He is asking the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; myself, whether some people will be arrested. I can assure the hon. member that the State is constituted of three Arms, the Executive, Legislature where you are and then the Judiciary. The Executive, the Arm which deals with law and order is the Ministry of Home Affairs. Indeed, in terms of policy, it is at the Apex, where we sit. We do not instruct the police to arrest people; otherwise we would instruct even those without any case to be arrested. It is up to the police to take action where they think it is necessary. When they do so, they take the matters to the Judiciary and not to the Executive. So, my answer hon. member and law student is that, I am not privy…
MR. CHAMISA: On a point of order – [Laughter.] –
MR. SPEAKER: What is your point of order hon. member?
MR. CHAMISA: My point of order hon. Speaker Sir is that, I asked this question as a Member of Parliament on behalf of my constituents and I did not ask Minister Mnangagwa to be my lecturer. I find it very untoward and unfair to continue to be referred to by studentship, which I am sure he admires – [Laughter.] – If that could be withdrawn and stick to the question because I have not been answered on the second question hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
MR. SPEAKER: Order. I thought the hon. member has answered his point of order by summarising that he thinks that the hon. Minister admires his being a law student.
MR. MNANGAGWA: Thank you hon. Speaker. Birds of the same feather flock together. I was admiring the incoming of Hon. Chamisa in the fraternity of the learned – [Laughter.] – but since he is afraid to be welcomed, I have no choice – [Laughter.] – than to say I withdraw that you are a law student. I had already indicated that with regard to the second aspect of his question, we cannot, as the Executive, influence the police to arrest or not to arrest. It is up to them to determine whether there is a prima facie case for them to proceed to arrest or not. I thank you.