ZANU PF furious after EU request for judicial engagement

ZANU PF has reacted with extreme anger to a request by a European diplomat for engagement with the country’s courts, resulting in calls for a “clampdown on Western envoys.”

Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia
Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia

The European Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia, last month wrote a letter to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court requesting a meeting with judges from the Electoral and Constitutional courts “to exchange views on electoral petitions.”

Dell’Ariccia was trying to organise a meeting with the Zim judges and a delegation from the EU, who were in the country last week.

In his letter dated 29th August and addressed to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court Walter Chikwana, Ambassador Dell’Ariccia wrote saying:

“I would hereby like to kindly request your support in facilitating the organisation of meetings with members of the Constitutional and Electoral Courts in order to exchange views on electoral petitions.”

But the request for the meeting has prompted outrage from ZANUPF, with the outgoing Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, calling it “totally unacceptable” in diplomatic circles.

Chinamasa authorised Chikwana to decline the meeting, which he did in writing saying: “Members of the Constitutional Court and Electoral Court do not hold meetings with anybody other than the litigants or their legal representatives regarding matters that are pending before the respective courts. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate for me to facilitate the meeting you have requested.”

The ZANU PF mouthpiece newspaper has since been calling for Dell’Ariccia to be recalled, quoting ‘analysts’ like Jonathan Moyo as saying that the ambassador “did not deserve to be in the country.”

“This does not only expose them as hypocrites but charlatans because you will not find an example of judiciary interference like that anywhere in the world,” Moyo was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, an opinion piece published by the Herald called for an immediate clampdown on Western diplomats, saying: “It appears the ambassadors come to Zimbabwe under the impression they have a so-called white man’s burden to ‘civilise’ the natives.”

“The least the foreign affairs ministry can do is summon these envoys and read the riot act or alternatively ask their home countries to recall them,” the opinion piece read. – SW Radio Africa News

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