via Don’t be fooled, top court pro-Zanu PF 30 July 2014
AN opposition politician and constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku, says Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court is fiercely pro-Zanu PF and will do all in its power to defend the party’s interests.
Madhuku made the remarks while addressing journalists and members of civil society on the subject: the new constitution and media freedom.
Madhuku said journalists should not celebrate the recent decision by the Constitutional Court to scrap the criminal defamation law as this did not mean that the courts were now more democratic.
Media rights groups had in the past complained that President Robert Mugabe’s government had often used the criminal defamation law to silence dissent and restrict the freedom of the press.
In its ruling last month the full bench of the Constitutional Court concurred that the law was harsh and excessive under a democratic dispensation.
But Madhuku said there is need for caution in celebrating this victory as the bench still remained fiercely pro-Zanu PF.
“They support Zanu PF as you know most of the judges there. As a common fact they think that Zanu PF is at its best, it is not facing any threat from anyone (at present). That is the reason why you have those laws coming out of the Constitutional Court,” Madhuku said.
“It is not coming out of the Constitutional Court because you suddenly have good judges who are committed to democracy and good governance, not at all!”
Madhuku said once Zanu PF is facing a real threat of being removed from office the “Constitutional Court will change its direction”.
“Now you can go to the Constitutional Court and you will be fine as long as Zanu PF is not under threat that is the current situation. That is what you get. So whenever courts tend to be independent they are only independent when their interests are not being threatened,” he said.
He said the moment judges realised that Mugabe was facing a real political threat judges would “revert to their old tactics”.
The main opposition MDC-T party and Western governments often accused Mugabe of purging independent judges from the judiciary particularly after 2000 and replacing them with pliant judges who do his bidding.