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Air Zimbabwe Arrests: When justice becomes injustice

By Rawlings Magede

West Abbey, London, United Kingdom is the place where the great explorer David Livingstone lies to this day. Yes I’m told that’s the place where his two servants at the time Susi and Chuma embalmed the rest of his remains, wrapped in sailcloth and sailed to London in 1874 and left him there.

Rawlings Magede
Rawlings Magede

Up to this day he continues to sleep there, surreal yet posing a lot of serious questions to us born on this beautiful continent concerning his “discoveries”. From his sojourns in the Zambezi and exploring its tributaries and the Nile source, only he could narrate better what he discovered first hand.

I love Africa. It’s a beautiful continent with great scenic views. From the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, Africa boasts of such tourist attractions which continue to mesmerise visitors till this day. If one travels to North Africa, Egypt especially, the Suez Canal continues to act as a trade bolstering facility between developed countries and developing countries.

It connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7, 000 kilometres!

Although the Suez Canal is just a water way between two continents, it symbolizes much more in value. This Canal strengthens the power of Egypt in world economy.

With the taxes from the ships which use the Suez Canal, the Egyptian economy keeps growing day by day. The siltation and erosion in the coast requires labour force. The required labour force usually comes from the Egyptian society therefore it reduces the unemployment rate in the country.

I would have missed the point if I don’t talk about my own Zimbabwe. We boast of the majestic Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe among others. Beautiful continent, beautiful cultures and people.

These are some of the discoveries that Livingstone yearned to make but alas fate had other plans for him. But to his advantage, he witnessed the development of early societies in Africa. Today West Abbey is a resting place for the explorer who witnessed first-hand development of early societies.

Through his interactions and dealings with local chiefs and people in Africa, there are many things that only he could narrate concerning the political organisation of these early states. Forget about the great divide between distortion and factual representation. This is a debate that continues to this day. But all this is to wonder off the point.

When the gander is mistaken for a duck

Over the past weeks, a sombre atmosphere engulfed Zimbabwe. The sentencing of former Air Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Peter Chikumba and the company secretary, Grace Pfumbidzai for a combined 20 years left many mesmerised by the “competent’ justice delivery system.

The two were convicted for criminal abuse of office. While relatives and loved ones wailed and toiled at the courts in trying to get sympathy, it proved to be a futile exercise.

While I don’t want to exonerate these two from the “harsh” sentence, a lot of interesting questions emerge. As one thinks and ponders on the reason why the courts flexed some treacherous muscle in trying to restore public confidence in justice delivery in as far as corruption is concerned, a lot of “whys” emerge. What about others?

Whose Justice is it anyway?

I mean we have our archives of corruption hidden in deep parts of our memories. Yes, this is our hope at least for now, something that has become part of us and as the political tides continue to trudge towards exciting times ahead, all we can do is watch. We have so many cases of parastatals that were left in the intensive care unit by most political figures who continue to bask and revel in ill-gotten wealth and success.

But alas, our courts, magnanimous to criminals as ever, continue to operate and skirt on corruption cases with rehearsed precision and yet when those not aligned to powerful figures within the political matrix err, they act swiftly with the speed of lightning to at least remind citizens and would-be criminals that they still have a semblance of what courts should do.

We can write thick volumes of how ZUPCO was looted by one Bright Matonga, Chiadzwa diamonds corruption that saw no revenue being remitted to treasury during the time of the inclusive government. Ask Biti. The rest of the corruption cases are already public knowledge. I would waste my precious time to talk about rampant looting in the allocation of land and stands by those aligned to Ignatius Chombo. The list is endless.

The justice delivery in Zimbabwe is deplorable to say the least. On one end you have the new National Prosecuting Authority masquerading as an institution with a constitutional mandate of undertaking criminal proceedings on behalf of the state, headed by one Johannes Tomana, who is a former Attorney General under whose charge he was actually an enabler of the regimes transgressions.

Today he has just shifted office but same script. The police also continue to play to the whims and tunes of political players and in many cases they have actually taken orders from politicians which in itself is a violation of their ethical practices and standards.

On the other hand you have a “spineless” Auditor General whose job is to just audit and sit back and relax. In 2010 after carrying out an audit government of parastatal bosses, it unearthed misappropriation of funds, embezzlement and other fraudulent activities.

If the findings from this audit were to be executed and acted upon, the whole of government, ministers and parastatal bosses would have been arrested. But alas, if anything, several people who have been implicated in corruption have actually been promoted. What a travesty of justice!

Now when you have several cases under the carpet at the instigation of those in power and authority, what does one make of this nation?

The days ahead will have many eyes.

That’s the bottom line.

The write Rawlings Magede is a rural political enthusiast who writes from Nkayi.

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