THE Second Republic under President Mnangagwa values the independence of the Judiciary and will never interfere in court processes as is being suggested by some oppositional forces and foreign governments, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has said.
This comes as United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols and a coterie of Western embassies have been exerting pressure on the Government to interfere in the trial of political activists who are facing charges of inciting public violence, by ordering the courts to release them.
However, Minister Ziyambi said even as Justice Minister, he could not direct the courts to release someone from prison as that would be gross interference, which has no place in a country that respects the doctrine of separation of powers.
“My take as regard to (Ambassador) Nichols and all those who are talking about the justice delivery system, is that they have lost it. They want to bring in the Executive over cases that are before the courts. They say the Judiciary should be independent and then say the Executive should interfere.
“The Executive has nothing to do with cases that are before the courts. I have indicated that they play a game of double standards. Over a period spanning from end of March to May this year, I looked at the number of cases that Government was party to the litigation, where we were being sued. Of the 25 cases we only won six and lost the other 21 yet they don’t want to hear about this and only come out screaming saying we have captured the Judiciary.
“Our take is for them to shut up and stop commenting on cases before the courts. Leave the courts to do their work. I am not supposed to interfere, the American ambassador is not supposed to interfere, who am I to go to court and direct the courts to release somebody? I will be charged. The suggestions by the foreign embassies are actually a violation of what they are preaching. Constitutionalism dictates that I cannot, even if it’s my son, I have to follow the due process of the law. But they want us to use our Executive power inappropriately with these people. If they committed an offence, the courts are there to declare that they are innocent, not us, not the American ambassador, not whosoever,” Minister Ziyambi said.
Since coming to power, President Mnangagwa has walked the straight and narrow path of constitutionalism and the rule of law. His Government has repealed contentious pieces of legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) as well as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), replacing them with more democratic laws.
Apart from striking down controversial laws, the Government recently concluded a US$3.5 billion deal with white former farmers in compliance with the 2013 Constitution that was voted for overwhelmingly in a referendum.
However, the country’s detractors are blind to the giant steps that have been taken in a small period of time to transform Zimbabwe both politically and economically, in order to sustain their anti-Zimbabwe narrative, they are now trying to smear the Judiciary.
“I don’t want to comment on matters before the courts, but my take is that the very people and their lawyers are playing a political game. They are not addressing the actual issues that they will be facing and they are doing it for a purpose so that they cry and say the Judiciary is captured.
“It is a well-planned issue. You hear them say our client was arrested for busting corruption, but on the charge sheet it will not be there. They must simply go and address the issues in court and deal with them. I think they are simply playing a political game,” said Minister Ziyambi.
Some Western embassies have consistently turned a blind eye on the political reforms that the Second Republic has instituted, including the re-engagement and dialogue platforms that President Mnangagwa has availed to both local and international players.
Their anti-Zimbabwe position dovetails with the opposition agenda to paint a picture of a country in a crisis when in actual fact Zimbabwe is just facing challenges that countries in the region are grappling with that have been wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and also successive droughts.
Apart from pandemics and the impact of climate change, Zimbabwe has an extra-burden of the illegal economic sanctions that the Western countries imposed at the turn of the millennium to punish Zimbabwe for the revolutionary land reform programme.