Lifting corporate veil


The human mind is a powerful instrument capable of conceptualising, reasoning and making choices that not only advance the cause of human progress, but that could undermine the validity of the well-established fact that human beings have some superiority over God’s other creations in the animal kingdom.

Indeed the law of the jungle applies to the rest of the animal kingdom where might is right. We generally expect better from human beings.

When the basic foundational principles expected in the human kingdom are absent, then one must know that the difference, if any, between the animal and human mind is the same.

When an occurrence of the nature that challenges the human mind to reflect on what it means to be a human being happens, then it is important to expose such occurrences in the best interests of protecting human civilisation.

Human beings can think, act and make choices in a manner that gives them dominion over other animals.

We can organise ourselves and most importantly, we have the capacity to self govern by putting in place a legal system that can regulate human behaviour.

The absence, therefore, of a government in the animal kingdom is not accidental to suggest that human beings are entitled to expect better from the people who serve them.

However, when State actors begin to behave as if there is no difference between human beings and animals, then it is time to go back to the drawing board. In making this observation, I can only rely on examples that have been revealed to me in my life.

I have come to accept that common sense is not always common and, therefore, it is important to expose the uncommon one.

I have been a victim of the logic that Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice and Legal Affairs minister acting solely on his own, was the genius behind the construction and execution of a law that belongs to a class of laws that can only exist in the animal kingdom ie the Reconstruction of State-Indebted and Insolvent Companies Act.

I have refused to accept that a single individual can have the capacity to think and act in a box without the support of others especially when the human mind is capable of knowing better in terms of what is right and just.

Obviously the mind that mooted the idea of the Act must be congratulated for blinding the majority to believe that the law has no relevance to their own interests and affairs.

One aspect of the law that I thought needed exposure is the manner in which an “associate” in relation to a company in which the Act applies to was defined.

Associate in relation to a company referred to in the Act was mischievously give the following self-serving meaning:

Its subsidiary

Any company of which the company is the single largest shareholder.

Its holding company

Where the company is itself a subsidiary of a holding company, any other subsidiary of the holding company

Any person who has power, directly or indirectly, to control the company’s management and policies.

The above definition was deliberately inserted in the Act to permit the minds that saw a benefit in borrowing State powers for the sole purpose of achieving ends that could not be accomodated using existing laws to assume the control of a private company while ensuring that no avenue could exist for the parent or sister of the targetted company to challenge the unlawful act.

Put simply, the law permits the parent, sibling and relation of an accused to be also held culpable for the alleged crime of the targetted.

In this case, in terms of the Act, a crime allegedly committed by a person can be used to sink his or her relatives without any attempt to treat each person as a separate and distinct entity.

The implications of this Act in so far as it allows State actors to hold liable and culpable relatives of an accused for the conduct of a person in the family tree, are far-reaching and unprecedented.

The existence of the law for more than eight years on the Zimbabwean statutes suggests that anything is possible where people are not vigilant.

By highlighting and exposing lunacy, I hope that the content and context of the daily conversations that take place between people concerned about the future of Zimbabwe and Africa, will change so that we can begin to make people accountable for reducing human civilisation to animal behaviour without making the necessary declarations that the law of the jungle is the operative law in post-colonial Zimbabwe.

We clearly have a long way to go towards making Zimbabwe’s future secure. The brilliant minds that were seized with the task of converting an idea of creating a window for this lunacy, must at the very least come out in the open to add their faces and voices to the class of animals that believe the end justifies the means.

When I reflect on the plight of the workers at Shabani Mashaba Mines and try to locate the place and time when minds met to condemn the future of so many in the interests of punishing an individual for a crime that was not captured by all existing laws, I am compelled to add my voice and face to not only the workers and their families, but the African family that the future is not secure when the State can be used to increase the bargaining power of cowards.

Mutumwa Mawere is a businessman based in South Africa. He writes in his personal capacity.