ANTI-CORRUPTION watchdog Transparency International-Zimbabwe (TI-Z), along with other bodies and individuals, has expressed strong reservations over the conduct of the investigation of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru on allegations of grand corruption as it appears to be driven by the desire to settle personal scores and humiliate her.
No right-thinking person is saying Mujuru is innocent because that would amount to prejudging. All we are saying is that like any other accused or suspect, she is innocent until proven guilty.
Let’s not mix issues. Having a sense of justice means defending the upholding of everyone’s legal rights whether you like them or dislike them. Everyone has the right to like or dislike Mujuru.
But when it comes to the issue of justice, every Zimbabwean is equal before the law and entitled to the due process.
“Our concern is that the investigations should not be politically motivated and targeted at some members of an organisation. It should be wholesale and everyone suspected of engagement in illicit deals should face the law and not a few members targeted to settle personal political scores. We say no to that,” said TI-Z chairperson Loughty Dube this week.
But from the tone of it all, Mujuru has already been convicted. The whole process looks decidedly tainted. This selectiveness reminds one of the Rhodesian system where justice was dispensed mostly on racial grounds.
They mixed politics with justice and there was only one certain outcome — gross miscarriage of justice. We cannot have such charades in Zimbabwe.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, states: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”
This is in direct contrast to the conduct of Mujuru’s political enemies and the compromised State media who are baying for Mujuru’s blood to crash her forever, never to rise again politically. This belongs in the realm of instant or mob justice which has no place in a constitutional democracy.
The mobs which were hired to exclude the Mujuru camp from the Zanu PF congress do not exist as far as the due process applies. But the due process — the legal requirement that the State must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person — appears to have been thrown out of the window and replaced by retribution. State security agents have been reported to be trailing the Mujuru camp lawyers.
The case must stand or fall on legal merits or demerits — nothing else. It is vitally important not to have a kangaroo court — a court where the outcome is pre-determined by the real or perceived reputation of the defendant, and, thus, will not be fair.
It’s not about Mujuru not wanting to go down alone, but about justice being dispensed without fear or favour whether one is in the “right basket” or “wrong basket”. Disgraced or not, Mujuru deserves justice.
Those persecuting Mujuru should be reminded of that every step of the way.