HomeEditorial CommentMinisters are not above the law

Ministers are not above the law

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THE High Court judgment stopping Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi from grabbling a fuel station in Beitbridge will go a long way in restoring confidence in the judicial system.kembo-mohadi

A breakdown in law and order that accelerated during that fast-track land reform programme led many government officials to believe that they were untouchable. The property grabbing spree is still going on in many parts of the country although at a much lesser scale.

Senior government officials continue to ignore court orders with impunity with the most recent case being that of the deputy chief secretary to President Robert Mugabe, Ray Ndlukula.

Ndlukula was accused of ignoring a court order when he seized David Connolly’s Figtree farm a few months ago. He has a case of contempt of court before the Bulawayo High Court. On the other hand, Mohadi has become a regular feature at the Bulawayo High Court.

Last week we reported that a High Court judge barred him from interfering with operations of an investor — AfricOil, which has bought the liquidated fuel depot Red Queen for about $2,3 million.

In his ruling, Justice Martin Makonese had some good advice for the minister when warned that the courts had a duty to protect the country’s laws and shield both the weak and poor in society.

Mohadi had been accused of threatening to kill an employee of AfricOil Petroleum, a consortium keen to invest in the fuel sector in Beitbridge. Justice Makonese said there was enough evidence that the minister interfered with the operations of the company’s liquidator, Barbra Lunga, who sold Red Queen to AfricOil.

He added: “Any acts of self-help must to that extent be discouraged.”

In December 2012, Justice Lawrence Kamocha divested Mohadi and his business partner Josias Moyo of the directorship of the companies after they were found to have muscled themselves in illegally.

Such behaviour does not befit the minister’s status, especially one who is responsible for law and order. The High Court should be applauded for restating that ministers are not above the law.

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