By Staff Reporter
Former Cabinet Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has strongly criticized the country’s judiciary, asserting that the recent conviction and imprisonment of opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume has made a mockery of the judicial system and left it in a state of utter disrepute.
Prof. Moyo’s comments come amidst growing concerns about the erosion of human rights and the rule of law in the country.
Posting on Twitter, Professor Moyo drew attention to what he perceives as a shocking mishandling of Bill of Rights cases by the judiciary, comparing it to the troubled years of Gukurahundi.
“The conviction and sentence make a mockery of the judiciary and leave it in utter disrepute. Truth be told, the judiciary’s shocking mishandling of Bill of Rights cases these days is eerily reminiscent of the Gukurahundi years, when the Rhodesian State of Emergency retained between 1980 and 1990 was ruthlessly enforced. But there was an important difference then, now lost to the judiciary.
“While government used a decade of the retention of the Rhodesian State of Emergency for political purposes against targeted political enemies – especially Zapu and the population in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands – the judiciary then stood firm as the protector of the Bill of Rights and defender of human rights and freedoms,” wrote Prof. Moyo
The recent conviction of Jacob Ngarivhume by Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka, Professor Moyo said represents an alarming departure from the past.
“The point here is that during the Gukurahundi years – in which the order of the day was the Rhodesian State of Emergency whose effect was the obliteration of the Lancaster Bill of Rights – draconian convictions and sentences like the one imposed on Ngarivhume by Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka were unheard of.
“It is a sociological truism that individuals lose their freedom when they join or belong to any group, because doing so necessarily requires them to give up some right or freedom in exchange for the pursuit of some common good. Because of this, threats to human rights and freedoms typically come from the groups to which individuals belong.
“The worst of such threats anywhere in the world come from the State in general and the government of the day in particular. This is because the State monopolises the use of violence through the government of the day. Thus, every government is by definition a threat to human rights and freedoms,” said the former Minister
He added “In constitutional democracies with an entrenched and justiciable Bill of Rights, the guarantor of human rights and freedoms is the judiciary, not the government of the day but the judiciary, failure of which it has to be the people themselves.”