HomeOpinion & AnalysisDoes govt really respect independence of the Judiciary?

Does govt really respect independence of the Judiciary?


THE government’s purported respect for the independence of the Judiciary and rule of law in the country is suspect and must be treated with the contempt it deserves.

In fact, the claims are meant to hoodwink the gullible and divert the attention of the international world from a constitutional crisis that Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has plunged the country into following his attack on the High Court bench, especially the three judges who ruled against the extension of former Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term by five years.

By signing Constitutional Amendments (No 1 and 2) Bills into law, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, with the support of Zanu PF and Douglas Mwonzora’s smaller MDC-T, created the constitutional crisis.

Thus, Zimbabweans should treat Mnangagwa’s claims with a pinch of salt for the sole reason that if he really meant what he said, government should have withdrawn its appeal against the High Court judgment.

Was it not clear to the President that the amendments were ultra vires the country’s governance charter? The speed with which Mnangagwa signed Amendment No 2 into law clearly shows his government had an ulterior motive.

That Mnangagwa’s utterances followed Ziyambi’s attack on the judges, threatening drastic action against them, shows the President has realised his government’s folly in this whole debacle.

Ziyambi, still a novice in lawyering, should not be allowed to rubbish the courts of law when he is supposed to learn the ropes decently. Ziyambi has exposed not only the President but also his deficiencies as still being green to be an officer of the court. We are sure he wished if he had remained a laboratory technician.

Why does this government see shadows each time it misfires? Imagine attacking imaginary foreign regimes for allegedly “capturing our Judiciary” in “our affairs” and so-called hostile judges.

We could understand Justice secretary Virginia Mabiza struggling to control Ziyambi’s damage. That’s the price a country pays for appointing incompetent individuals to key positions for political ego. Even Mabiza’s statement was as vague as it came.

The attack on judges started with the Justice Erica Ndewere tribunal. In that case again, government’s duplicity was exposed. Justice Ndewere’s tribunal showed how judges had continued to pay a price for delivering adverse judgments against some State actors.

So for Mnangagwa to feign respect for the rule of the law and the courts when he cannot redeem himself is just a charade which hoodwinks no one.

Were it not for political expediency, Mnangagwa would have listened to the outcry of citizens and sent the amendments for a referendum before signing them into law.

“Mr Listening President” Sir, please listen to the voice of reason. Such gaffes have cost this country her goodwill for far too long. Do we need to continue on this destructive path?

It’s possible that Mnangagwa can at least remedy the damage and redeem himself without feigning respect for rule of law. He must walk the talk. We urge the President to withdraw his signature from both Acts and discipline Ziyambi for his uncouth attack on the Judiciary.

The attack was shameless and unwarranted.

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