THE removal of Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu PF) from remand after a Harare magistrate ruled that the legislator had no case to answer following money-laundering and fraud charges has sparked outrage.
Many, who were shocked about the development, described it as yet another example of judicial capture by the Zanu PF-led government.
On Monday, Harare regional magistrate Taurai Manuwere ruled that Wadyajena had no case to answer because the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission had failed to give enough evidence to prove his guilt.
Reacting to the ruling, some Zimbabweans expressed dismay saying the judicial system was protecting the rich, while punishing the poor.
“This and all other cases involving the political elite clearly shows how the Judiciary has become powerless against those with power. If one compares this with how opposition and civil society activists are treated, then you see how the Judiciary has been reduced to a partisan entity that advances the interests of the ruling elite against the common good,” Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson Peter Mutasa said.
“The case of (Citizens Coalition for Change Zengeza West MP) Job Sikhala, Zimbabwe’s latest political prisoner, shows how the law is applied selectively. It is now a circus and the greatest loser is the Judiciary, which has a lot to do to redeem itself from this commonly held view of Zimbabweans that it is captured and partisan.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader Obert Masaraure said: “I was shocked to learn that in the Wadyajena case, the courts ruled that six months before trial was an unjustified delay. I have been on remand for four years with no trial date. We have made over 40 applications of refusal of further remand to no avail.
Masaraure added: “The courts have thrown out each one of the applications we have made. The State keeps on asking for more time to investigate. The allegations were that I posted subversive material on social media. That’s not a complex case to investigate compared to Wadyajena’s corruption case. In six months, Wadyajena, who is accused of corruption, is removed from remand, but in four years, I remain on remand accused of posting on social media.”
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Political analyst Vivid Gwede said: “What stands out is not this single case of Wadyajena per se, but its relation to comparable cases in the same court system. The irony is, there are similar cases of opposition and civil society activists where accused persons are being held in pre-trial detention, or on lengthy remand on lesser allegations without evidence or at least speedy prosecution. This is raising public concerns about the courts treating people differently according to political affiliations. It is a travesty of justice.”