Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Return The Rule of Law in Zimbabwe

Malvern at COP26 Glasgow

The judiciary system in Zimbabwe has been compromised by ruling party Zanu P-F. There is no separation between judiciary and executive making Zimbabwe a quasi-state. Rule of law is non-existent as it is manipulated and used as a weapon against the opposition party and human rights activists.
 
In May 2021, Ed Mnangagwa amended the Constitution to extend the retirement age of senior Judges to 75 if they are in good health. The Constitution of Zimbabwe protects itself from violation by having set steps to make amendments. All the amendments must be done through a public referendum and voted in Parliament. The President used his executive powers to make amends and took advantage of his majority in Parliament to make it law. Chief Justice Malaba was due for retirement and had his tenure extended for five years. Chief Malaba was the same judge responsible for validation of 2018 elections results which were being disputed by MDCA for alleged rigging. 

 There is a comprehensive fair process of appointing senior judges on merit. They are interviewed on national television by The Judiciary Commission panel comprising of senior serving and retired judges. There workload is evaluated and scrutinised in-depth on technical law aspects vetting capabilities, impartiality, and competence among other things. The President is presented with a list of successful candidates to choose his preferred choice. It was abuse of power by Ed Mnangagwa to appoint Chief Malaba without following set channels and was challenged in Supreme Court but dismissed.
 
MDCA Youth leader Makomborero Haruzivishe was arrested in March for inciting public violence against Police and resisting arrest. Makomborero was at Copa Cabana terminus when he saw riot police attacking vendors. He is alleged to have whistled a signal interpreted as mobilising public to revolt. Makomborero has been in jail for over 200 days without trial and prosecution postpones court date saying it is not ready reminding him in maximum security prison in Chikurubi. Makomborero could pay a fine or sentenced to 20 years in prison. Makomborero’s case has nothing to do with inciting public violence but a class war against the poor. Zimbabwe is an impoverished country with over 95% unemployment and hyper-inflation. There is no employment, and most people are self-employed surviving on less than $5:50 a day. The Government serves a few and protects the rich. The Government banned thousands of self- employed combi drivers/whindis/ ranks marshals  in favour of allocating a bus tender (ZUPCO) to Auxilia Mnangagwa and Tagwirei. Makomborero is being penalised for his activism and the Government is holding him on remand on fabricated charges.
 
Hopewell Chin’ono a journalists and human rights activists has been arrested over three times on fabricated charges. He spent 42 days at Chikurubi maximum prison on charges to incitement to commit public violence a law which was squashed in 2014. Hopewell was later arrested for publishing fake news when he whistled corruption on Covid funds which implicated the 1st Family (Mnangagwa Twins). Beatrice Mtetwa who defended Hopewell was disqualified for posting a tweet calling for citizens to demonstrate against corruption but was later reinstated.
 
Judiciary is used a weapon against opposing ideologies to the ruling party but also exonerates the elite when caught red handed. The Health Minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested for misuse of Covid 19 funds. He awarded a contract to a Hungarian firm worth $20M without following correct procedure. The opposition pressed on the case after Interpol ceased 2M in a Hungarian bank. The Health Minister charges of abuse of office were dropped as the charges by the Prosecuting Officer Garudzo Ziyadhuma were not clear. He was state prosecutor handling Henrietta Rushwaya for allegedly smuggling over 6kgs of gold. The case involved the Central Intelligence Officers and apparently the gold was linked to Auxilia Mnangagwa. The Prosecutor Garudzo Ziyadhuma dropped the charges citing lack of evidence as the CCTV was switched off at Robert Mugabe Airport. The Prosecutor is very controversial as he catches and releases those linked with Government Officials but denies bail to human rights activists and opposition party
members.
 
https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/5/13/zimbabwe-leader-extends-tenure-of-controversial-top-judge
 
https://kubatana.net/2021/04/05/statement-on-the-conviction-of-makomborero-haruzivishe/
 
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-42013720.amp
 
https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/28/zimbabwe-court-quashes-charges-against-journalist-hopewell-chinono
 
https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-defender-hopewell-chinono-detained-and-charged
 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53119989.amp

https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/ex-health-minister-moyo-acquitted/
 
https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/main/cio-officers-part-of-the-sydincate-implicated-in-rushwaya-gold-smuggling-scandal/
 
BY: Malvern Dengu

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