Autonomy of Judiciary must be sacrosanct 

Source: Autonomy of Judiciary must be sacrosanct – DailyNews Live

Eddie Zvinonzwa      18 December 2017

HARARE – In recent times, Zimbabwe has witnessed instances where the
country’s Judiciary has had its arms amputated by another arm of
government, especially the Executive.

There were a number of cases which were before the courts which sadly got
trashed by the country’s top officials and those enjoying proximity to

Last year, former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo – who has since
been fired from the ruling Zanu PF and is reportedly in exile – was
accused of siphoning over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development
Fund (Zimdef).

Zimdef gets its funds from contributions from the corporate world, which
is required by law to contribute towards the development of the country’s

Moyo, who until his sacking from both party and government was Tsholotsho
North legislator, claimed then to have used the funds to purchase bicycles
for chiefs in his constituency.

It is important to note that Moyo did not deny siphoning the money but
obviously hoped the use he purportedly put the money to would sanitise the
whole thing.

There was entirely nothing wrong with Moyo taking his case to the
Constitutional Court because – like any other citizen – he is entitled to
these avenues in seeking justice.

What is, however, surprising is that former first lady Grace Mugabe, who
had suddenly discovered the amount of power at her disposal by virtue of
being the then president’s wife, used political rallies to “acquit”
certain individuals.

She went on to exonerate Moyo – whose tenure at the ministry of
Information had very few admirers as it came up with equally controversial
pieces of legislation like the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) –
declaring that he was innocent at one political rally she addressed.

This led to the crumbling of the case before the courts then but
Zimbabweans will obviously wait with bated breath to see whether the case
will die, now that there are new heads at the Justice ministry who may be
keen to see the case finding closure.

The presidential youth interface rallies she and her husband addressed had
become platforms at which they would assume judicial powers.

Combative and brash former Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour
Kasukuwere, who had been rejected by his home province of Mashonaland
Central, was also declared innocent by the former first lady. She said
then; “Kasukuwere is going nowhere.”

Former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko at one time controversially
ordered the release of Zimbabwe National Roads Administration officials –
acting chief executive officer Moses Juma and board chairperson Davison
Norupiri who had been arrested on allegations of abuse of office and
fraud, arguing that their arrest was not justifiable.

There are several land barons who have escaped the clutches of the law
because of political connectedness. All these cases must be revived so
that the culprits have their day in the courts. Proximity to power must
never be used as a route to “innocence”.

In any political setup, it is important for the respective arms of
government to remain autonomous and not interfere with each other.

The Judiciary is an important arm of government, which is entitled to its

The three pillars of the government, that is, the Executive, Judiciary and
Legislature must exist separate from each other as the arrangement ensures
there are checks and balances all the time.

The conflation of party and State was a direct result of the absence of
this separation of powers, which must remain sacrosanct.

Where a line is not drawn between the different arms of government,
problems are always bound to occur.