NewsDay Editorial: When justice delayed is justice denied

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Can a criminal case remain pending in court for 28 months without being concluded? Can a High Court draft judgment remain pending for several years after conclusion of presentation of evidence?

Southern Eye Editorial

This is what has happened in a murder case in which 29 MDC-T activists were accused of murdering police Inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View, Harare, sometime in May 2011.

Since their arrests, the case had been postponed many times and one of the accused, Rebecca Mafukeni, died in prison after failing to access her medication.
The accused had made frantic efforts to be released on bail to no avail.

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important,” civil rights leader Martin Luther King once said.

Yesterday, High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu acquitted 21 of the MDC-T activists accused of Mutedza’s murder after ruling there was no prima facie case against them. However, Justice Bhunu placed seven others on their defence after the State reportedly proved a prima facie case against them.

Sadly, their case was postponed sine die.

This is a shocking example of delayed justice and human rights abuse. Surely, after spending over two years in custody this is a case where the prosecution, it seems invariably, believes an accused is guilty until proven innocent and not vice-versa.

Some 28 months is a lifetime in our short life. Should we conclude that the MDC-T activists were punished because of their political inclination?

What compensation is there for their families given that there was already one tragic loss of life?

What is curious is the fact that when they continued to apply for bail they were denied their freedom after the court cited no changed circumstances since their arrests.

We believe that with the coming in of the new Constitution, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Attorney-General’s Office, criminal cases of this nature are dealt with expeditiously so families don’t suffer unnecessarily.

Even in the worst case scenario, an accused’s rights should be respected. That is obviously not the case here.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the court is acquitting the political activists after two good years and four months behind prison walls.

What benefit will there be for them — their families, relatives and friends?

If they were breadwinners they perhaps will now grapple with some chronic diseases contracted in prison during their incarceration.

This is no justice at all.

One wonders in whose interest it was to arrest innocent people with a view to investigate, in the process wasting human lives and taxpayers’ hard-earned incomes.

16 COMMENTS

  1. The media should start using the right words to describe ZANU(PF), its Apartheid ZANU(PF). Stop talking of “the veteran” describing a murderer like Matibili. He is not veteran, otherwise lets also say Chidhumo and Masendeke were “veterans”. We know that Apartheid ZANU(PF) is using the same manual of Apartheid South Africa

  2. Zpf via the courts were itching for revenge and they got it through the death of that activist.
    Remember the mysterious death of Learnmore Jongwe in the hands of the same police.

  3. Plenty of witnessess including the family of the deceased policeman mourn that their son was killed by Zpf.
    We know the truth and the lack of justice in this country.

  4. Tsvangirai was right in disengaging from these courts.
    We are too big as a mvt to present ourselves before these political puppets and slaves for arbitration.
    We would rather anguish in prison than legitimize these idiotic losers.
    Shame to the Zimbabwe Courts.

  5. The judiciary movemnt arent even ashamed of their sellout and betrayal tendencies.
    To them some blood is more royal than the other.
    May God the supreme Judge strike them alive. The whole bench.

  6. With the reckless way in which Zpf is arresting political activist.
    They are suddenly making heroes out of all these political victims and instead instil a rebelloius spirit umongst locals.
    This is madness and can soon backfire.

  7. Cyborg wataura iwe ukarova mwana everyday anoita nhinhi these Zanupf thugs are instilling a rebellious attitude in the people

  8. One of these guys was arrested, used as a bait and after all these months, the truth comes out and you are free to go. Free from what and you are expected to carry on from where you left 2 years ago. These are the things that caused some people to raise up arms and start Chimurenga 2. 28 months were wasted and where do you go back to. The police should be charged for such derelict of duty.

  9. Judge should have realeased all of them. There is no case to answer. No witnesses police cannot disprove their allies. Let me guess the so called police informants are somehow zhanu pf guys!? Justice delayed is justice denied.

    SO zanu kills 2000 people in 2008 & not one person is arrested???

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