Mugabe's govt goes after judiciary again

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his government have launched an assault on the country’s judiciary in a bid to contain the rising protests that have awakened the international community to the Zimbabwe crisis which have tipped the southern African nation to the brink of implosion.

This comes as the spirit of resistance sweeping across the country is nearing tipping point as angry Zimbabweans have planned to roll out two more massive demonstrations this week alone.

Mugabe is facing the biggest challenge to his 36 year-rule which angry Zimbabweans blame for the worsening political and economic situation.

Yesterday the lapdog State media, which is controlled by Mugabe’s government carried articles — including an editorial — in which it implored government to lean on the judiciary to stop granting court orders allowing protestors to stage demonstrations.

“For instance, it boggles the mind how the judiciary can allow perpetrators of fresh violence the “right” to go back onto the streets even as those whose cars were burnt and whose shops were looted are still counting their losses,” said the Sunday Mail in its editorial yesterday.

“Yes, the Constitution guarantees rights of expression, association and to protest. The same Constitution values peace and development above all else. It also places limits on rights, especially where they infringe on the inalienable rights of the majority of the rest of the citizenry.

“It is a concept that Justice Bharat Patel captured well in a 2010 ruling turning down an attempt by a group of white farmers to register a Sadc Tribunal ruling in Zimbabwe that would have effectively reversed the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme.

“Given these countervailing expectations, public policy as informed by basic utilitarian precept would dictate that the greater public good must prevail,” added the Sunday Mail.

On Friday, police bludgeoned hundreds of protestors who had gathered in Harare under the auspices of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a grouping of 13 opposition political parties that had planned to demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat and outstanding electoral reforms.

The protest march, which the opposition wanted to use to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of Zimbabwe’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, prompted nervous authorities to place the entire capital city under a virtual lock-down.

Even after the High Court had ruled that the protest march could go ahead, riot police — backed by armoured trucks and water cannons — indiscriminately fired volleys of teargas at all and sundry, battering and chasing groups of determined opposition supporters.

Yesterday’s threats against the judiciary triggered anger from lawyers and opposition political parties who see this as an attempt to muzzle the courts, like what happened in 2000.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe is clear on separation of powers. It has clear provisions on the independence of the judiciary and the judiciary is there to protect people’s right to protest and uphold human rights,” said Tendai Biti, who is a respected lawyer and leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),

“Chinamasa in early 2000 fired the bench and Justice Anthony Gubbay (chief justice then). However, I don’t think they will go the legal route now. I think they will just unleash violence on citizens, they did that already on Friday when they unleashed the army.”

In 2000, Mugabe targeted the judiciary after he launched bloody and violent agrarian reforms which dispossessed white commercial farmers of land after losing a constitutional referendum.

Most judges, mainly whites, were hounded from the bench.

The MDC yesterday condemned the threats against the judiciary, accusing Mugabe and Zanu PF for trying to “soil” the reputation of the local judges.

“The Zanu PF regime is a rogue regime. This is why they are disrespecting and disobeying court orders with impunity.

“We are dealing with a rabid, violent, corrupt and intolerant regime that is obsessed with the politics of power retention at whatever cost,” said MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu.

“If the regime continues to flagrantly disobey and disregard court orders, all our judges should proceed to resign en masse. This will trigger a constitutional crisis of unprecedented proportions. At that stage, Sadc, the AU (Africa Union) and even the UN (United Nations) shall be compelled to intervene in order to resolve the long-standing political crisis in Zimbabwe.”

Mugabe has been accused by his critics of using police to batter hapless protesters who are fed up with his continued stay in office.

His critics say Friday’s savage attacks on a lawful gathering, coming hard on the heels of most recent brutal crackdowns against unemployed graduates and youths, show that Mugabe’s end is nigh but would try to destabilise the judiciary to contain protests.

“It is not surprising that the Mugabe government is targeting the judiciary now because it is not the first time that the regime purged the judiciary

of independent judges,” said Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch.

“We are likely to see yet another round of the government ignoring court orders it deems unfavourable and attacking the judges behind those court orders until the judiciary is left with only those judges that are malleable and who dance to the tune of the regime.

“We should not expect the government to condemn acts of police brutality because very senior government officials and ... Mugabe himself have in the past condoned and even encouraged police brutality.

“We call on Sadc to urgently revive the Zimbabwe crisis mediation programme, but it is unlikely that Sadc leaders will even speak out against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe when they meet on Tuesday and Wednesday,” added Mavhinga.

The unfolding political crisis in Zimbabwe has caught the attention of international community, including the UN which said it was closely monitoring the situation.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson of UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon said the UN was concerned by police brutality and deteriorating political situation in the country.

“We’re obviously watching the situation in Zimbabwe very closely.  We urge the authorities, the government of Zimbabwe, to ensure that people's right to peaceful protest and assembly be fully respected,” Dujarric said.

The UN concern comes as the Sadc heads of states — including Mugabe — meet in Swaziland tomorrow and Wednesday in a crucial summit which rights groups want Zimbabwe put on the agenda.

Last week, the internationally-respected Group of Elders, who include a former American president and head of the United Nations, issued an unusually frank call to Sadc to intervene in the worsening Zimbabwean political crisis.

Comments (13)

Mugabe must be forced to leave the political stage. He claims to have a mandate from 2013 elections but he has failed to deliver. No jobs, no food, no medical facilities etc. He is a hopeless bastard with 100 university degrees. Very selfish idiot. Even war veterans have now turned against him. Lets flash this old shit down the sewerage system

John Magozho - 29 August 2016

Democracy is coming. You may succeed in delaying, but never in stopping the coming of democracy to Zimbabwe. It is inescapable.

Aljazeera - 29 August 2016

Mugabe is trying to cling to power at all costs at the advice of DisGrace so that he makes inroads for his family to loot state coffers and control strategic businesses. The scandalous appointment of Ripton Muzenda to be CEO is a case in point. Muzenda is not in charge, but is a proxy for Simba Chikore. He has to get his 2 planes into the Zimbabwe fleet, and Muzenda must facilitate that. Secondly, NASSA's acquisition of Telecel is another DisGrace's scam. NASSA was made to buy off Vimpelcom so that the company can then be sold to Bona in a clandestine way. Super Mandiwanzira knows very well about this. Until these two are finallised and solidified, Mugabe is instructed not to budge.

MR COOPER - 29 August 2016

MR COOPER : stunning revelations there. All of it entirely plausible with the type of kleptocrats that we have running this country. Would you care to tell a little more about these and any other insider deals that you are aware off ??

TruthSaid - 29 August 2016

MR COOPER!!!! we need more people like you! so that when we are done with the MUGABES we will take everything that they stole fro the state! We will make sure that DISGRACE is not even left with a teaspoon! make my words! -mai tajamuka

ray - 29 August 2016

It was Okay for Mugabe to sneer at the rule of law after the referendum which went against him. Now he says "Do as I say. dont you dare do as I did" The Klingon is real here as in Star Wars, but spell it with a "C".

Nooshie - 29 August 2016

@MR COOPER,cut your puerile allegations,this is a forum for serious debate and not one to raise idiotic claims,are yu dreaming?respect other participants by making informed contributions and quit making kindergarten claims

truth - 30 August 2016

To everything there is a season..... Ichakwana nguva ye true independence muZimbabwe. Kwete mahumbwe atiri kuona aya achava history

Dhewa - 30 August 2016

vanhu vanonyadzisa ndeve Herald i mean the opinions are those made by extremists. I mean you want to revoke our right to protest. Why arent they writing about why the police attacked a legal demo hence provoking violence. People of herald esp Zindoga wafawarova and company wat shall you do wen ZANU Losese and you are nolonger writing your extremist propaganda and the boring cliche of accussing western powers. Fine lets suppose western powers are involved wat caused kuti vanhu vasupporte the so called regime change agenda. Its because the people are hungry unemployed you talk of starting grassroots projects we start them with what tisina kana kobiri and your paymasters all live like bourgeoise in borrowdale whilst sewages in Budiriro are not fixed because vaka vhotera MDC HAHAHAHAHAHA. You lot are just pathetic

NUTTY DREADLOCK - 30 August 2016

Daily maily can you pliz block @Truth

@Tindo - 30 August 2016

i wonder if these zanupf baboons understand what the word "illegal" means.....if the courts have given the go ahead then where does the illegality come from?

Tafirenyika - 30 August 2016

Mugabe has never in all his life entertained criticism. The idea of being criticized goes against his ego of knowing it all, Mr. Always Right. That mentality has been expressed in many different ways. 1. In Mozambique despite joining the liberation movement at its dying minutes, he inflkuence his election/endorsement to head the movement, get Gen Tongogara killed replace him by Gen Mujuru 2. At independence get the executive Prime Minister post relegate Canana Banana to ceremonial President, Joshua Nkomo despite being equal partners in war, relegated him to an ordinary minister of Home Affairs 3. 1987 amend the constitution and get the post of Executive President, abolished Prime Minister post, assumed absolute power, claimed Zimbabwe to be one party state, and absorb PFZAPU. 4. Created positions of senior Ministers/ reshufulled and swallowed asipiring contenders like Zvobgo, Morris Nyagumbo, Chris Ushehwekunze etc. 5. Plotted the ouster of Canana Banana with CIO, accusing him of sodomy, yet his cabinet current is full of such, Johnathan, Saviour etc 5. Rigged election in 1990s, plotted to charge Sithole with treason, Sithole left for USA, and then came back way old. 7. Rigged the 2002 elections plotted treason charges for Tsvangirai and Welshmen Ncube 8. Rigged 2008 elections killed and displaced more than million citizens from homes, who happen not to vote and spoiled many voting papers 9. Compose the electroral commission with military men/women include a former CIO director Kazembe and Justice Chiweshe, intimidated Mutambanengwe untill he resigned Rigged election to from 73% defeat at the hands of MDC-T to 43%/47% 10. Now he want to change judiciary to have CIOs and police to take over and pass judgement in favor.

amina - 30 August 2016

These are trying times , of which the judiciary should not be arm twisted and compromised by this rogue regime which is dying. The judiciary should stand firm and tell the system this is about law and not zanu pf congress and that they should go p**** and f*** off.

X-MAN IV - 30 August 2016

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