By Lance Guma
In 32 years of uninterrupted rule Robert Mugabe and his political vampires in Zanu PF have monotonously employed ‘Persecution by Prosecution’ to deal with organisations or individuals who threaten their iron grip on illegitimate power.
The unfortunate death of police Inspector Petros Mutedza in May last year, conveniently before a SADC meeting to discuss Zimbabwe, laid the political foundations for the incarceration of the Glen View/MDC-T 29 (now 31).
On the weight of evidence one cannot escape the naked reality that the activists, some of whom have spent 18 cruel months in custody, are innocent. Three quarters of this time has deliberately been wasted on bail applications (when the judges or prosecutors bothered to turn up) and not the actual trial.
The father and brother of the murdered cop, Solomon and Tichaona Mutedza have also testified in court stating at great risk that Zanu PF and state security agents were behind the murder in order to tarnish the image of the MDC-T.
We witnessed the trial judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ‘crying more than the bereaved’ when he emotionally accused defence lawyers of coaching Tichaona Mutedza on what to say. Tichaona was accused of being an MDC-T activist.
But the murdered cop’s father, Solomon, is a member of Zanu PF. ‘Injustice’ Bhunu as he is now being derisively called did not bother to give us his reaction to that twist in the case. He is the one handling the case like a Zanu PF activist.
Justice Bhunu of course deserves another farm for his Oscar winning performances in delaying the trial. He has spent months ‘deliberating’ on the bail application by activists who were briefly released but did not abscond.
If the accused have already shown they are not a flight risk, why deny them bail? Unless of course, as we all know, you are taking political instructions from a political party that gave you a farm several years ago.
But is the Glen View case anything new?
Jestina Mukoko and the training of MDC bandits in Botswana
In December 2008 four CIO agents, part of a 7 member gang, abducted former ZBC TV presenter and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko from her Norton home around 5am. They pushed her into the back of a truck and sped off.
It’s ridiculous when you think about it now but Mugabe’s regime actually accused her of plotting to overthrow them by recruiting MDC insurgents to train in Botswana. (Jestina recruiting bandits? These people think we are fools!!)
Mukoko was severely tortured and kept incommunicado for over 21 days. After this period she was able briefly, in the presence of police, to see her family.
Without warning she was brought to court on Christmas Eve, alongside other detainees who had been abducted and held for 76 days. The detainees included a 72-year-old man and a two-year-old boy, all facing banditry charges.
The case collapsed and the charges were dropped.
Even if you had a brain the size of a pea, you would have worked out that the charges were trumped up and intended to intimidate people like Jestina Mukoko and her Zimbabwe Peace Project from documenting abuses in the country.
Luke Tamborinyoka and the bombing of police stations
In 2007 over 84 activists including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s current spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka were arrested and held for over 62 days on trumped up charges of setting off a series of petrol bombs countrywide.
Just like the Mukoko case the charges were eventually dropped but not before the activists endured assaults, torture and other forms of degrading treatment.
It later was leaked out that units within the army were behind the 12 petrol bombs that exploded across the country, mainly targeting police stations, Zanu PF offices and passenger trains. The bandits and terrorists were in our army.
The same goons probably bombed the Daily News in 2001 no doubt.
But if the regime is prepared to inflict this sort of collateral damage for its political ends they would have had no hesitation killing Inspector Petros Mutedza last year in May, just like his father and brother have alleged.
Lookout Masuku and Dumiso Dabengwa
In 1982 then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe ordered the arrest of Lookout Masuku and Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa and four others for allegedly planning a coup. The case again collapsed in the Supreme Court.
Despite the acquittal police detained the group under emergency regulations, holding them for four years. This again was a clear example of Mugabe persecuting his opponents by prosecuting them in a court of law.
I could have written a whole book on trumped up charges used by Zanu PF citing the Cain Nkala murder trial, Tsvangirai treason trial and many others but the above examples should show you how ‘persecution by prosecution’ works.
Mugabe’s opponents have had to hire expensive lawyers to defend themselves. This wastes valuable money meant to be used for campaigns. Key party figures also spend time in jail and are not able to carry out their mandates like MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairperson Solomon Madzore for example.
Meanwhile Zanu PF’s key party figures are free and roaming on the ground campaigning. This is despite a collection of them having blood on their hands from Gukurahundi through to the June 2008 election violence and murder.
The late Zanu PF legal brain Edison Zvobgo once said “a prison is a place where big criminals keep small ones.” The tragic irony in Zimbabwe is that it is the victims who have been ‘persecuted by prosecution’ by the perpetrators.
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