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Is Obert Mpofu's take on the presence of rule of Law in Zimbabwe on point?

07 May 2020 at 16:03hrs | Views
I am a member of a What's App group under the title: "Towards Media Excellence" that was established to identify and celebrate the best in the profession.

It is not in dispute that the SC judgment has further added to already existing divisions in Zimbabwe.

I am sure you will agree that although the dispute that was adjudicated by the Courts regarding the constitutionality or otherwise of the ascendancy of Advocate Chamisa to the position of Vice President and President of the MDC-T party, there is a deep-seated view that the judiciary is not an independent and impartial tribunal.

This view is supported by numerous precedents wherein the judiciary has failed and refused to act in the interests of the protection and promotion of the rule of law.

It cannot be taken lightly that on behalf of your party, you had this: "It's a question of... respecting the rule of law which they have been talking about themselves.

In any case it's not Zanu-PF that went to court it's themselves that went to court so the problem there is their own making and Zanu-PF can only say the law has taken its course."

From the above, it would appear that your party and its representatives in government are alive to their obligations in upholding and defending the rule of law.

There are many who would call you disingenuous while others would celebrate your seemingly neutral position on the SC judgment.

There can be no dispute that the fact that after the SC has determined a dispute, the parties to it must find each other in relation to the direction of the Court.

The Court is an integral part of a constitutional republic yet in this case, I am sure you will agree that when the integrity of the courts is prevalent, then public confidence in the entire system is eroded.

One would have expected you to listen to the whispers and possibly pause to reflect on why it is the case that after 40 years of independence, the general public would find any fault in disobeying the Constitution.

Could it be that the general morality has lost significant space to celebrated immorality to allow for no accountability?

It is being argued that when properly construed, this judgment is moot and academic, a viewpoint that seems to have been accepted by the judges.

You assert boldly that it was not the case that Zanu-PF was not a litigant in the MDC-T dispute but the impression informed by real life experiences is that the Courts are not neutral.

I have been inspired to write this open letter in series this being Part 1 in order to provoke and hopefully ignite a broader conversation on the centrality of the rule of law in building bridges rather than entrench walls.

It is the case that ZANU-PF office bearers are not active directly in social media to hear the dissenting voices of citizens who genuinely believe that no rational person would conclude that all is well in Zimbabwe in terms of the role of the judiciary in delivering just outcomes.

I am sure you will accept that there is a leadership vacuum in our society not only in the media fraternity that if not addressed poses so a grave risk to the prospect of lifting the country out of the current morass.

The subject of constitutionalism and the rule of law as important building blocks of a prosperous and inclusive society needs to be debated in an open and transparent manner.

Regrettably, the PARTISANSHIP that has taken root in our society has reduced space for dialogue and to this extent one would expect a representative of the ruling party to rise above the known divisions to look at issues in the manner they should be examined and interrogated.

After 40 years of the promise of independence, I have no doubt that you will agree that if you were asked to name just 3 names of journalists who stand out as shinning stars in reporting in balanced manner on the state of the nation using a constitutional lens.

I have searched and continue to search for the address where wisdom and better understanding resides to help heal the nation but find none.

One would expect the general public to respect your voice yet the reality is you are being ridiculed and villified as a divisive person who participated in one of the greatest coups of our time.

In the next instalment, I will examine whether the promise of constitutionalism has been honored during the 40 years of independence.

It may be the case that the lenses used by Mr. Mpofu are blurred leading him to arrive at the conclusion that the promise has largely been met and the people who have served in government have discharged their duties as expected.

Accepting that plurarity and diversity of views on the same facts allows us to find each other on what kind of future best speaks to the aspirations of the majority

Source - Mutumwa Mawere
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