Let Miniyothabo Baloyi enjoy all the fun
WHILE VP Chiwenga and brand new wife, army Colonel Miniyothabo Baloyi were bringing Bulawayo to a standstill with their convoy on Friday, Chiwenga’s ex-wife Marry Mubaiwa was facing what some described as the worst treatment a court can give in Harare.
The couple paid their condolences to the Cont Mhlanga family in Nguboyenja suburb in the morning before leading a clean up campaign in the western suburbs of Bulawayo, with media in tow.
It was a contrast of gigantic proportions. However, Miniyothabo is having her fun under the Sun and it is absolutely not her fault that she is in a honeymoon while Chiwenga’s ex-wife is in hell of some sort. Those who tried to guilty trip the army Colonel are offside.
The real crux of this article is how Mubaiwa’s treatment is by the courts helps build certain perceptions – negative or otherwise- around the country’s judiciary.
Warrant of arrest on a bedridden woman
More than any other branch of government, the judiciary is built on a foundation of public faith. Judges do not command armies or police forces, they do not have the power of the purse to fund image-building initiatives and they do not pass legislation. Instead, they make rulings based on the law, rulings that the people must believe came from competent, lawful and independent judicial officers.
Mubaiwa is charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill the vice president when he was critically ill and hospitalised in South Africa back in 2019.
These are serious charges and one hopes she justice is done on the case without fear or favour. However, it is the manner in which Mubaiwa got treated by the courts on Friday that got Zimbabweans discussing if some of our magistrates do indeed have a human heart.
According to her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Mubaiwa could barely help herself crawl out of the car into a court that was supposed to hear her case. The car was parked right outside the Magistrate’s Court and, according to Mtetwa, she requested that the court improvises and sit in the parking lot for the routine hearing.
The request was turned down. Marry had to be dragged into the court somehow, or they were going to slap her with an arrest warrant for absconding a scheduled hearing. Indeed, the presiding magistrate went ahead and issued Mubaiwa with an arrest warrant regardless of the circumstances.
We are not medical doctors and even if we were, the only narrative we know so far is what Mtetwa told us. Was she exaggerating Mubaiwa’s condition and playing to the public gallery to garner sympathy? Is Mubaiwa a flight risk or not? One is tempted to ask all these questions and more, but on second thought, we realize that Mtetwa could, after all, be correct.
If Marry was faking illness by lying on the car seat as if she is about to die, it is up to the courts to come clean and tell the nation the truth, togethet with accompanying proof from medical doctors that Mubaiwa can indeed stand trial.
But the silence from the prosecution and the courts on the actual state of Mubaiwa’s health leave us with nothing but Mtetwa’s version and we run with it.
And, God forbid if Mubaiwa is to die from complications to her clearly unpalatable health condition. How will those who torment her sleep at night knowing that they could have let her seek the medical attention she badly needs?
An alleged rapist gets a slap on the wrist
As we report elsewhere in this publication, a Harare court is hearing a case in which a Zanu PF Youth League official is facing charges of raping a maid.
Innocent Tatenda Zanorehamba appeared before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje this Friday. However, it has emerged Zanu PF requested for his bail reporting conditions to be relaxed so he can conduct the party’s programmes across the country.
Zanorehamba’s lawyer Tawanda Machinga submitted a letter dated July 29 signed by Zanu PF secretary Voyage Dambuza requesting for a relaxation of Zanorehamba’s bail conditions.
Prosecutor Kennedy Madekutsikwa after reading the documents told magistrate Mambanje that he did not oppose the application. He is facing serioos charges, probably of the same wavelength as Mubaiwa’s, but the way he is treated by the courts versus Mubaiwa’s.
One set of laws for Zanu-PF, another for all of us
These are just two cases we picked from plenty where people linked to the ruling party walked away unblemished after getting into trouble with the law. This is another version of the way Robert Mugabe’s henchmen operated: breaking Zinara bosses out of jail after they had been arrested for corruption.
And oh, by the way, Mugabe’s henchmen of 2016 are the same men and women who are right there in the corridors of power…
However, if we juxtapose Zanorehamba’s case with that of Mubaiwa, one thing is clear: courts treat Zanu-PF members with a different set of legal eyes than they do those who are out of favour with the ruling party.
Judicial rulings can easily break down the very fibre of what is necessary for a functional judiciary: citizens who believe their judges are fair and impartial. It’s easy to destroy the trust the public has in the judiciary unless we have come to the point we agree the horse has long bolted away and we are now pursuing scorched earth politics.
The compound effect of these perspectives is that in the long, people lose respect for court processes and rulings. Who then can blame Chamisa for insisting that he lost the election petition case because part of his evidence was unfairly declared inadmissible outside the actual court sitting?
To quote former United States President Theodore Roosevelt: “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right, not asked as a favor.”
The judges who administer justice in our country must be seen as independent, fair and humane. Nothing less than the rule of law is at stake. – HourlyHits Editorial