Ziyambi's rabid tantrum after regime's failure in capturing the judiciary - by accusing judges of being captured
The Zimbabwe regime, and the ruling ZANU PF party would have a field day, poking fun at the "defeated" opposition, touting the country's judiciary as one of the best and most independent in the world - and, that the opposition should accept the judgements, no matter how unfavorable - despite some magistrates and judges clearly exhibiting an anti-opposition bias and agenda, characterized by, for instance, the repeated proffering of insane reasons for delaying constitutionallly-obligated bail for the accused...such as toothaches, and lack of time to finalize rulings.
However, yesterday (15 May 2021) was a very interesting day on many fronts - the most outstanding, of course, being the high court ruling that found the extension of the then Chief Justice Luke Malaba's term as unconstitutional - who should have retired midnight on the same day - as incumbents could not benefit from any such constitutional term limit changes, which was rushed through parliament by the ruling ZANU PF party.
This triggered an unsurprising, but worrying, angry tirade by the Zimbabwe regime, through its justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who - much to the bemusement of many - accused the judiciary of much the same things as the MDC Alliance had done, apparently forgetting his own previous self-conceited advice to the opposition to accept court verdicts, and cease labeling the judiciary as "captured", only when they had lost a case.
Like a child who has been denied his favorite toy, he went all out in a seemingly rage-filled, and clearly unprofessional, vitriolic tantrum - characterized by the usual unsubstantiated allegations of "regime change agendas" by "foreign forces", who sought to tarnish and "destabilize the Second Republic" - and, with reckless abandon, appeared to smear the entire judiciary with the same brush of "conspirators", who were "anti-Mnangagwa", for "continuing to make decisions that are against the government".
The amendments, which were roundly condemned by a significant section of Zimbabweans - as they were deemed wholly unconstitutional, due to the fact that the procedure used to pass them by the National Assembly, and Senate, were in stark violation of Section 328(7 and 8) [which state that, in the event of an extension of term limits, the incumbent, or former holder of the office, can not benefit, as well as a demand for a referendum for such changes), and 186 [which deals with the tenure of office of judges] - were widely believed to have been tailor-made with the sole purpose of extending Malaba's tenure.
Malaba, had become notorious, as he was commonly viewed as doing ZANU PF's bidding on the bench, through pushing magistrates and judges into persecuting by prosecuting activists, as well as, even going as far as issuing a directive that he should see their (judges') judgements before they were delivered - which, he was forced to withdraw after an unprecedented outcry and resistance by the said judges.
Furthermore, this is the same man who saved the current president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, after a highly controversial election in 2018 - whereby, the opposition MDC Alliance's Nelson Chamisa insisted that he had actually won, whilst disputing official results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which declared his ZANU PF rival the winner, thereby, taking the challenge to the Constitutional Court headed by Malaba.When a grown up starts acting like a spoilt little child, by throwing bizarre tantrums, we all should know that there is something they are trying to hide. Why this anger and obsession over the appointment of only one person?
What is so special about Malaba, that a whole ruling party, and government, would be so daring as to unconstitutionally amend the country's supreme law, solely to extend his tenure - and, when this is prevented by the courts, the same entities fall into uncontrollable rage?
Is he the only competent judge to act as Chief Justice in Zimbabwe? Is our country's judiciary so depleted and deprived of quality, that we need to recycle the same man, even when his term should have expired last night?
There is certainly more to this, which the former chief justice's unenviable tenure had already revealed - through his unquestioned loyalty and bias to the ruling establishment - a fact Ziyambi inadvertently exposed, as he accused other judges of "making decisions that are against the government", further threatening a " transformation of the judiciary" (meaning, packing the courts with pro-ZANU PF judicial officers), and to " expose these malcontents and economic saboteurs"...even laughably linking them to the MDC Alliance, which has all along been at the receiving end of the courts' mercilessness.
All this rage for what? To most of us, it would seem that he is the only one man who holds the regime's hopes for the 2023 elections - as the ruling party, most particularly, their presidential candidate, sees no hope of winning a free, fair, and credible election, nor a challenge at the Constitutional Court (should the results be contested by the opposition, in case of a "disputed" win), unless Malaba is presiding.
All democracy-loving and constitution-respecting Zimbabweans need to herald yesterday's high court ruling - in standing firm, and fearlessly resisting the bastardization of our supreme law, by a ruling elite whose only concern is power-greed - as historic, and a source of pride, and hope for a country that should be governed by the rule of law, not the rule by law, and an unquestionable devotion towards tenets of constitutionalism.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: email@example.com
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