Mugabe should respect rule of law

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe does not hide his disdain for the rule of law especially in situations where his power is under threat.

The threat against judges that will handle the case of his friend turned foe Didymus Mutasa only served to illustrate that.

Mugabe reportedly said that Mutasa’s case was internal and no competent judge should hear it.

There could be no greater interference in the judicial system than this by a head of State and sadly this has become endemic.

At the height of the land reform programme, he gave rogue war veterans the blank cheque to hound principled judges out of their office.

Mugabe and his acolytes used the judges’ skin colour as an excuse to push them out, but the real reason was that they had refused to throw away their principles and be subservient to the executive.

The purging of the judges saw Zimbabweans losing confidence in the judiciary. Some Zimbabweans opposed to Mugabe’s policies sincerely believe they cannot get justice in local courts because they see that the judicial system is heavily compromised.

The case in point is that of dispossessed farmers who had to turn to the Southern African Development Community Tribunal before its suspension at the instigation of Zimbabwe.

Farmers had to run to South African courts to seek justice because they had no faith in the local judicial system.

Such despondency does not augur well for the country’s quest to attract foreign direct investment as the rule of law is one of the major prerequisites for investors before they decide the destination for their money. Zimbabwe is regarded as a pariah state today because of its documented disregard for the rule of law.

Mugabe has resorted to blackmailing Mutasa by hinting that he would be arrested for alleged corruption and abuse of Zanu PF resources.

If indeed Mutasa is guilty of those crimes it would only serve to expose the Zanu PF leader for condoning corruption because all these alleged crimes happened under his nose.

The strategy to intimidate judges and law enforcement agents to protect Zanu PF interests does not belong to this era and Mugabe should be ashamed of himself.

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