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Victory for rule of law

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The kicking out of Tourism minister Walter Mzembi from Renco Mine is a triumph for all law-abiding citizens of the country and should be seen as a clear message to all who think they are omnipotent to exercise restraint.

NewsDay Editorial

Mzembi, who occupies a critical portfolio in the cleansing of the country’s battered image, was on Monday ordered out of Renco Mine by High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera.

Mzembi was reprimanded for unlawfully grabbing the mine under the guise of resolving a labour dispute.

Justice Mwayera had no kind words for Mzembi and his counterparts, fellow MP Irvine Dzingirai (Chivi South) and Obediah Mazombwe, for urging and abating the takeover of the mine, saying their actions were contrary to the indigenisation laws of the country.

“The facts of this case clearly show unlawful invasion and dispossession of a legally incorporated entity under the guise of resolving a labour dispute as if there are no labour laws in this country or under the guise of being parliamentary representatives of the constituency in what is clear self-help and disregard of the law that the respondents first and second are part and parcel of its making,” Justice Mwayera said.

“There is clearly an illegal move which has been taken by respondents, taking over Applicant Company and thus disrupting activities thereon.”

Only last week, Mzembi told the local media that Renco Mine directors had offered him a $100 000 bribe which he refused to take. In the ensuing melee, the minister was taken to task to explain his actions (at Renco) during his recent visit to Spain.

It is our fervent hope that other companies that have been suffering silently because of unscrupulous officialdom in the name of politics and or ostensibly on behalf of the less privileged of society, will come forward and expose the rot.

May the outcome of this case give them assurance that, despite excessive and unwarranted political interference in business, the law can still protect them.

Mzembi failed to walk the talk.

He is the same minister who eloquently, and correctly so, attacked Zanu PF bigwigs who had invaded the Save Conservancy and his behaviour was clearly out of order. Considered as one of the more enlightened members of Zanu PF, he has been a huge disappointment.

Moreso as this exposure comes at the time the country is preparing to host the crucial United Nations World Tourism general assembly under his leadership.

At one time, he regarded his ministry as the face of the nation, but what he did or at least attempted to do was contrary to creating the good image that the country desperately needs. What makes Mzembi’s action more repugnant is the fact that he knows fully well that the country is struggling to attract foreign investors in the face of a muddied appearance wrought by government’s “reap-where-you-did-not-sow” indigenisation policy.

His actions can only serve to harden investors’ stance against the policy.

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