Mpofu arrest : Abuse of State resources to settle political scores

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Thabani Mpofu
Thabani Mpofu

THE arrest of MDC Alliance lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu on allegations of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, so soon in the wake of the abduction and torture of party officials Cecilia Chimbiri, Joanah Mamombe and Netsai Marova appears like another case of abuse of State apparatus to settle political scores with an opponent.

NewsDay Comment

How else would one explain 11 heavily armed officers raiding his home twice over the weekend? Is Mpofu some militia leader capable of mounting an armed resistance to the intended arrest? Quite clearly, these are the intimidatory tactics that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has become well-known for.

We do not know the merits of the State case against Mpofu, but the guerrilla tactics used by the police show a regime bent on cowing its subjects into submission.

But of course, Mpofu is the lawyer who represents Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the MDC Alliance and the man who has made Mnangagwa’s presidency a nightmare.

Chamisa still does not recognise Mnangagwa’s electoral victory, which he labelled a fraud. Mpofu, of course, led the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) challenge against Mnangagwa.

Indications that the court application mentioned in the allegations is still ongoing at the ConCourt as the court has not provided a judgment in this case clearly shows the Executive is interfering with the Judiciary, which is well able to exhaust the matter and pass judgment. But sadly, these developments are clearly a mockery of the principle of separation of powers among the three arms of the State.

This could be a deliberately designed strategy to instil fear in Mpofu and ensure he finds it difficult to practice his profession. One is even tempted to believe that this matter will come to naught, the fate of many other previous cases in which outspoken lawyers whose cases involved politics suffered a similar fate.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has documented several cases involving its lawyers who were subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, facing similar charges of obstructing justice — all of which came to naught.

We are well aware of the Machiavellian tactics of the law enforcement agents and other State institutions which have everything to fear from lawyers who represent their clients without fear or favour and insist on full compliance with the law and constitutional safeguards.

These are the kind of developments that continue to ensure that Zimbabwe remains a pariah among the more civilised States of the world. It is no wonder that the begging presented to the world by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube found no takers because, at the end of the day, you cannot separate a country’s economics from its politics. And these developments, among many others, clearly demonstrate the Harare administration’s insincerity — unless behind all this are spoilers out to sink Mnangagwa’s government from inside.

And most unfortunately, all these things are happening at a time when more effort and resources should be channelled towards the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clearly, our political leaders have different priorities from the rest of Zimbabweans.

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