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Zim lawyers for electoral justice (ZLEJ) trust gets registered

by Stephen Jakes
26 Sep 2017 at 09:38hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Electoral Justice Board has happily informed the nation and the generality of the international community that they have since registered The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Electoral Justice (ZLEJ) Trust MA 1245/17 with effect from 25 August 2017.

"We are yet to secure long term office accommodation and equipment and recruit necessary staff.  Meanwhile, we shall be very temporarily locatable at Bothwell-Ndhlovu-Attorneys-At-Law premises, 6th Floor Merchant House, Corner Sam Nujoma/Robson Manyika Avenue, Harare," said the chairperson Chawaona Kanoti.

"For your information and attention, our Trust is a civil society team desirous to champion, monitor, advocate for and act to ensure successful and effective criminal and/or civil liability of any person(s) who are, or have been, involved in criminal electoral malpractice at whatever level of lawful electoral contestations, and in that endeavour work to ensure appropriate rehabilitation and/or compensation of victims of such practice.  It is our own decided small albeit practical way of assisting society at large, the police and the prosecution, and of course our courts of law, in reaching out with a helping hand to victims of electoral malpractices."

 He said obviously it is not, will never, and cannot be a parallel justice system. ZLEJ is merely a dedicated civil team that will, for a start only, pick up for Private Prosecutions mostly political violence  electoral malpractise cases which the police and/or the Prosecutor – General would have selected not to prosecute or, better, are not seeming to be selecting for prosecution in circumstances of course wherein the victims prefer or, put better still, in circumstances the victims with fuller knowledge and understanding of their rights and with the relevant capacities, would have preferred prosecuted.

"We shall therefore for now be concentrating mostly on such deserving but unprosecuted Political Violence cases stretching possibly from as long ago as 1999. The underlying lense, the philosophy that shall guide us in this our dedicated endeavour, is Hunhu/Ubuntu. We shall be seeking restorative, and not retributive, justice for both victims and perpetrators.  We seek for both partys recovery into society," he said.  

"Accordingly, to society at large we shall be appealing for cooperation and a restorative attitude to justice, while from the perpetrators we shall be appealing for both cooperation and a desire to compensate the victims whilst also repenting. From the Chief Magistrate of Zimbabwe we look forward to unhindered access to his Electoral Courts. From all those lawyers who gathered at last year's Evan Mawarire initial remand circus we shall be appealing for their recovery of that exhibited solidarity with justice towards these proposed private prosecutions, while we shall also make a general appeal to all fellow lawyers to assist with free court times as private prosecutors."

He said from the police and the PG's Office they shall expect nothing but cooperation and assistance especially because they are the gurus in our intended area of focus.

"As it is we are now approaching, if we are not already there, another national electoral season, 2018, in which we expect do-or-fail political contestations as usual.  We therefore see it as appropriate, for example, that assisting the Political Violence victims of yester elections NOW will go a long way in subduing any 2018 violence, if any, as perpetrators and potential perpetrators will realise the truth of the Zimbabwe Republic Police's popular saying: "the long arm of the law will catch up with you!," he said.

"We shall also be appealing to all political parties to refuse audience, councillorship and parliamentary candidature to any of their members or sympathisers fingered in and/or facing our private and any public prosecution for any political violence incident (s). Of course we shall not be targeting any particular political party's membership for prosecution but only the perpetrators.  Any seeming concentration by the Trust on any particular political party's membership or sympathisers, if ever it would come to be, shall be coincidental as it shall be   dependent upon the identity of the alleged perpetrator as pointed out to us by the victim seeking assistance."

Kanoti said any material assistance and professional advices the nation and/or the international community may want to offer towards more efficient and effective achievement of the Trust's objects shall be highly appreciated.

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