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FULL TEXT: Adventist Lawyers' damning statement on Mnangagwa

by Adventist Lawyers Association
17 Aug 2020 at 19:44hrs | Views
On the 13 of February 2020, we issued a statement condemning corruption in our society and calling on Government to the following values,

I. That though justice must be deliberate yet it cannot stand still and should particularly be in motion against the rich, the famed and the powerful

II. That justice must not only be done but be manifestly seen to be done and that the prosecution of seemingly inconsequential matters has the effect of undermining the integrity of the fight against corruption

ll. That in prosecuting the fight against corruption, the authorities must themselves remain above trace or suspicion

IV. That there will forever be a very thin line, often times blurred, between prosecuting the vanquished for their "offences" real or imagined on the one hand  and vengeance , retribution and a programme of political annihilation on the other

We note that in the 6 months since we issued that statement, the socio-economic and human rights situation in the country has deteriorated further. We particularly make reference to the following:

1 The alarming reports of corruption in the country, including allegations of corruption in the health sector that led to the arrest of the then Minister of Health, Dr Obadiah Moyo;

2 The country's poor response to the Covid19 pandemic; for example, Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo is still not functioning despite reports that it was to open; there are reports of inadequate PPE in our hospitals leading to frontline health personnel getting Covid19 and there are reports of people escaping quarantine facilities due to their poor conditions and management;

3 The calls for protests at the deteriorating economic situation, and the arrest of individuals exercising their right of protest. We note reports of the arrest and assault of Tawanda Muchehiwa for no reason other than that he is a nephew of Mduduzi Mathuthu, and the State's failure to account for him until it was ordered by the Courts to produce him, at which point he was taken to court by ambulance due to injuries sustained at hands of the State;

4 The arrests of human rights activists including Joana Mamombe, Jacob Ngarivhume and Hopewell Chin'ono, and their complaints of abuse and denial of basic rights at the hands of the police and other state agents;

5 The intimidation of legal practitioners including the arrest of lawyers for their representation of accused people, and the frightening actions of the riot police outside the offices of Mtetwa and Nyambirai on Friday 14 August 2020;

6 The heavy-handed conduct of state agents in their enforcement of covid19 lockdown regulations, such as the assault of Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko on 2 August 2020.

7 The brutal attack by the Minister of Information, Monica Mutsvangwa, on the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference generally and on Bishop Ndlovu in particular, in reaction to their exercise of their freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. This is particularly disturbing coming so soon after utterances by Patrick Chinamasa which we consider to amount to hate speech.

It appears to us that the situation in the country is rapidly worsening. Corruption is  rampant and unchecked, and its effect on the socio-economic wellbeing of the  country is catastrophic. The State's response to protests against the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions in the country is heavy handed intolerance and abuse of state power. The response by Minister Mutsvangwa against the statement by the Catholic Bishops, for example, exhibits intolerance of the worst degree; and he attacks against the person of Bishop Ndlovu are frightening reminders of the country's history of the 1980s. The State should be receptive of the views of its citizenry and engage with those who are unhappy with its governance, rather than abuse state power to wage brutal attacks on the people it is elected to protect.

In the circumstances, we wish to remind the Government of Zimbabwe of its Constitutional obligations to ensure that the people' s freedoms are respected; to  eradicate corruption beginning at the highest levels; and to respect the views of the people of Zimbabwe even when they are unpalatable to it. We therefore call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to the following:

1 Withdraw statements made by public officials which amount to hate speech;

2 Allow the exercise of free speech and religious freedom in accordance with the Constitution;

3 Free political detainees, and allow all inmates in the country's remand centres and prisons their rights, including the right to proper legal representation, the right to adequate clothing, food and medical attention;

4 Uphold the right to legal representation and respect client-attorney privilege, and allow legal practitioners to exercise their vocation without interference or intimidation;

5 Investigate all allegations of corruption transparently and allow the law to take its course against all those who have been or are involved in corrupt activities;

6 Address the burgeoning socio-economic crisis by engaging all relevant and affected stakeholders.

7 Unify the people of Zimbabwe rather than diving them at every criticism.
We stand by the Word of God and the obligation He imposes on all of us as recorded inMicah 6 verse 8:
"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God."



Source - ALA

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