Its not Tomana alone!

bob_mugObservations by a mission of international lawyers and jurists that visited Zimbabwe late last year that the judiciary is at the beck and call of President Robert Mugabe (pictured) and his Zanu (PF) party are hardly surprising.

That the bench long forfeited its integrity in the eyes of ordinary Zimbabweans is as true as it is obvious to all except those who are either fatally loyal to Zanu (PF), brain dead or both.

What, with judges taking delivery of vehicles and plasma television screens from Mugabes previous government and accepting farms confiscated from fellow citizens by night, only to turn up in court the next morning to preside over compensation disputes involving the same owners of the farms they accepted and the government.

It is a travesty of the time honoured notion of judicial independence and integrity. It reduces the bench to nothing more than a sad joke and the whole nation including many members of Zanu (PF) knew this well before the international mission issued its report more than a week ago.

What is surprising, though, is another observation in the report, whose contents we publish in detail elsewhere in this newspaper, that the unity government has done absolutely nothing to try to re-establish the integrity of the compromised bench.

The present government has not (pursued) any policy initiative directed at re-establishing the integrity of the senior judiciary in the eyes of the public, the international legal experts drawn from the bars of England and Wales, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Avocats Sans?Frontires and various others said.

That a government that came into office with promises to not only revive the economy but to also uphold the rule of law to pave way for legitimate economic activity to thrive has not bothered to fix the bench is yet more evidence if any was needed — why Zimbabweans should never take this administration seriously.

There can be no sustainable economic growth in an environment of lawlessness, where property rights are trashed left, right and centre.

Which sane investor will put money in a country where the bench is an appendage of a political party or is seen as such?

Who, except those who are brave to the point of foolishness, will dare invest in farming and the agro-industrial sector in a country where judges have to juggle their time between court sessions and growing crops or rearing cattle on stolen land?

The point is that it is not the recordings of Chenjerai Hunzvi and his war veteran goons dancing on top of court desks to force the judge to adjourn proceedings prematurely that will keep investors and tourists away from Zimbabwe.

What will is the knowledge that a government that includes the two MDC formations appears so comfortable having such a compromised bench as the one we have today.

Perhaps the focus should not have been on Johannes Tomana alone. The whole judicial system needs major surgery — and urgently so. Political activists and farm invaders masquerading as judges should go!

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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