Mtetwa blasts Jonathan Moyo

HARARE - Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa — fresh from a stint in prison — says serial political flip flopper Jonathan Moyo’s rants against her were unfortunate and replete with distortions.

The former junior Information minister wrote a stinging opinion piece in the State controlled media celebrating the “self-styled” human rights lawyer’s incarceration.

Mtetwa was arrested for trying to defend four officials from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office charged with impersonating police after a raid at the MDC leader’s communication office.

Moyo described Mtetwa as “a notorious untouchable celebrated in the legal fraternity not for her legal work about which there’s precious little to show but for her corrupt presumption of impunity when it comes to her now well-documented reckless confrontation with law enforcement agencies always designed to grab dramatic news headlines.”

Moyo said Mtetwa was “known less for her legal thinking or practice and more for her stage-managed antics in and outside the court some of which have been used by dubious institutions to reward her with equally dubious awards that do not have self-evident merit.”

He also railed against Mtetwa’s Swazi origins, even though she has given over three decades of service to the Zimbabwean legal fraternity, starting as a prosecutor and later going into private practice.

Mtetwa answered Moyo in an address at a public forum to mark the launch of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute. She said she had no problem with Moyo exercising his right to freedom of expression, but said he should not deny others the same rights.

 “Apart from the fact that Moyo got a whole lot of facts wrong about what happened between me and the police, he got the place where it happened wrong,” Mtetwa said.

“My view is that I may not like what Jonathan Moyo writes but he is entitled to that and he is entitled to be a member of Zanu PF. I am not talking about the lies and misrepresentation; what I disagree with is him denying others the right to do exactly the same in their political formations and writing the same in other newspapers.

“Moyo should understand that other people have the same rights as him from their perspective without him trying to shut them down using the mighty of the State or through the police.”

The rights lawyer, who has won several international accolades from a variety of international jurists including the American Bar Association, said space for research was being closed in Zimbabwe.  

“We have to negotiate with politicians for the space to do research,” she said.

“We have oversight institutions in the new constitution and we hope they do not face the same fate that some members of the judiciary and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) are facing now.

“We need to talk about what kind of research can be done to stop the culture of impunity and killing of oversight institutions in order to push the democratisation agenda forward,” Mtetwa said,” Mtetwa said.

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