‘Maybe Mugabe was right about Professor Madhuku after all’ – Chabvuta
In the last two months, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the President of the National Constitutional Assembly, and law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe has appeared on two Zimbabwean social media channels, the HSTV and another calling itself the Citizens Voice Network to discuss the achievements of the opaque political body that is the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD).
It is mostly political hot air! While commenting on the POLAD, Professor Lovemore Madhuku strayed into the current debate around the arrest and perpetual incarceration on remand of Citizens Coalition for Change Deputy Chairperson, Job Sikhala, his fellow CCC MP Godfrey Sithole and other CCC activists (The Nyatsime 13) who were arrested on 14 June this year.
This was in connection with the disappearance and then reported murder of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali in May this year. His comments have been rather incoherent, outright condescending to the intelligence of Zimbabweans, seemingly sycophantic and deliberately spiteful to the CCC leadership in a childish way for someone of his stature.
This is what makes one hold the opinion that the old geezer Robert Mugabe might have been right after all about the erratic behavior of Professor Lovemore Madhuku.
Madhuku wants people to believe that the CCC wants to upstage the judiciary in Zimbabwe
In the interview with the HSTV, Professor Madhuku made comments that seemed to directly accuse the CCC leadership of attempting to uproot or destroy Zimbabwe’s legal system for the comments they made after Moreblessing Ali disappeared only to be found dead and decomposed in a shallow water source.
The suspected murder, the impending investigation as well as the ensuing judicial process which has led to the incarceration of the Job Sikhala and others has been controversial as much as it has been intriguing.
The sentiments shared by Professor Madhuku while they could be taken at law to be factual are sensationalist, untrue and exhibit a sense of incitement of the state against the CCC.
A sycophant politician hiding behind the straws of legal arguments
At a political level, Madhuku wants to present an alternative view that he is a sober opposition leader unfortunately operating in a toxic and divided political system. However, there is need to understand that Madhuku in his interviews is not necessarily talking to the perceived audience but sending a message to the elites in ZANU PF.
Those are the people he is targeting, and he knows with certainty that the message will be delivered. He knows very well that this kind of talk will curry favors for him and get him closer to the system in the process earning a good spot to benefit from the largesse that the Government dishes out here and there.
For instance, he is a beneficiary of the POLAD trinkets although he wants to downplay the issue of the car that he has received. Of course, it is just a vehicle but for a political minion this is something to value. He has also had an opportunity to sit in a very lucrative commission of enquiry.
Shameless spite and condescension to Madhuku’s former law students
Madhuku, rather than commenting on an important legal matter has found an opportunity and a free platform to be overtly spiteful and contemptuous to a cohort of his former students who form the leadership of the CCC.
Madhuku wants to remain the class teacher but forgets that his former students are now his peers and seem to be doing better than him in the legal profession and in politics. This position seems to rile him.
There is a method to what he is doing. Madhuku knows the levels of gullibility in the country especially when the so called ‘learned colleagues’ weigh in on important legal and political matters in public fora. He is also very aware of how the ruling elites can then turn this kind of commentary into propaganda used to vilify the opposition and justify the harassment of the CCC leadership by the state security apparatus and politicians.
He is well aware that such opinions have the power to influence influence court decisions pertaining to the incarcerated Sikhala and Ors. As much as he wants to accuse the CCC leadership of commenting on a matter that is before the courts, he can also be fingered for doing the same. He is a political leader, an academic, a lawyer and someone well known in Zimbabwe.
Committing crimes in the name of the party and pleading otherwise
From a legal perspective, the point made by Professor Madhuku that when crimes are committed, they must be apportioned to an individual who has committed the crime rather than an institution such as in the Moreblessing Ali case is valid.
However, it would be grossly incorrect and misleading of Madhuku to want to argue that ZANU PF or any other political party for that matter as an institution cannot be questioned or held accountable if found necessary and when all facts have been presented to the court. Indeed, it would be a difficult feat in Zimbabwe’s court processes but one that can be pursued.
Political parties do not operate in a vacuum, they are made up of people
ZANU PF or any political party in Zimbabwe for that matter do not operate in a vacuum. The party does not exist devoid of its members who are legal persons before the law.
In the Moreblessing Ali case, an alleged ZANU PF member was accused of reportedly having kidnapped/abducted the CCC member who died and is the central perpetrator in this matter. The matter was presented to the police.
The public is not privy to the details of the investigation, but the fact of the matter is that through rigorous efforts the dead body of the CCC member was found in a shallow water source at the accused’s homestead.
Arguments can be made about how the body ended up in the shallow well and the accused could argue that it could have been the same CCC members that dumped the corpse to spite him or his party, ZANU PF.
Another argument was made though that the reported ZANU PF member who was well known to the deceased had been involved in a love relationship with her.
On the day of the alleged disappearance or kidnapping the same accused is alleged to have had a raucous argument with the deceased and it could have led to her unfortunate demise.
Thus, one would think that when the CCC members made statements about the accused and his affiliation to ZANU PF, there was nothing wrong as this was merely giving a profile of the accused to the police.
It is difficult to comprehend how any state security institution can cry foul that they were undermined in this instance when the information in the public domain point to a determined CITIZENS search which ended up unearthing the disappeared CCC member.
The Professor must not try to undermine the CITIZENS intelligence by spewing unnecessary verbose jargon that is empty of common sense.
Madhuku wants to mislead CITIZENS that the Judiciary is under siege
The Professor accuses the CCC members of undermining the judiciary by their utterances. In a charged case like this one, the judiciary as an independent is called upon to show its temerity and strength by blocking its EARS from all biased noises and be able to pass fair judgements.
In this instance, the Professor can also be accused of trying to incite the judiciary against the CCC members who are currently incarcerated. He is the one who could be accused of trying to undermine the judiciary.
In any case, in a democracy why would citizens be arrested for questioning the law or judgements passed by the judiciary?
Individuals who act in the name of the party are still criminals and their party must also be called to account
Going back to ZANU PF as an institution and its liability, one would want to remind the learned Professor, that the state has obligations to respect, promote, protect, and fulfill the human rights of its citizens as enshrined in Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
State institutions therefore have obligations to defend the rights of its citizens by ensuring that even private individuals committing crimes on their own frolic or using the name of the party afterwards to defend themselves must be held accountable.
The public is not clear on what transpired when the alleged murder happened. However, what is clear is that the polarised political scenery in Zimbabwe has now pitted the two rival political parties against each other at the local level in Nyatsime and at the national level in the judiciary, with the police and at a political party level.
The state which is led by a ZANU PF majority must still be able to not only show but in reality, act to deal with the security matters or lack thereof brought before it by citizens through the police.
Such situations have happened before – private citizens using the names of powerful people and political parties to commit crimes?
After the 2008 electoral violence, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights making findings on Zimbabwe noted that the political situation that prevailed at the time had been politically charged with private citizens using the name of the ruling political party to advance their own actions as well as the State’s agenda which in that case was to retain power at all costs.
The body urged the state to restrain citizens from using the state and ZANU PF’s name in acts of violence. The same can still be argued in the Moreblessing Ali matter.
In the same case that we are faced with, it would be important to understand what actions have been taken by the executive arm of the state to improve security, prevent inter party violence and ensure such cases never arise.
Freedom of speech must not lead to a freedom to mislead CITIZENS
That ZANU PF as a political party cannot be held accountable or be dragged to court is neither here nor there as Professor Madhuku would want CITIZENS to believe. Madhuku is clutching at straws, and he knows that to deal with the political crisis in Zimbabwe, some of the issues that have been put on the table for a long time include the depoliticization of state security institutions.
Madhuku wants to pretend not to know what transpired. Information is galore in the media about the report to the police, the frustration with the process that sought to investigate the matter as well as all the reported bungling.
The Professor wants to present a scenario where he feigns knowledge of how Job Sikhala has been arrested on trumped up charges. The Professor seeks to present steroid laden nonsense on stilts as legal facts. This is unacceptable.
People do not necessarily hold brief for the CCC or just randomly hate ZANU PF. All the people are asking for is a violence free country, with a police force that can deal with and investigate such cases as the Moreblessing Ali one.
In his two interviews and his continued spitting of venom clothed as legal analysis Professor Madhuku has done a bad job at trying to explain a legal rule by being spiteful and condescend to fellow lawyers and opposition leaders.
If anything, his advice that the opposition should respect the judiciary could have served to do the reverse by inciting the judiciary to think that it is under attack by the CCC leadership and its membership over the Job Sikhala continued incarceration.
Maybe, Mugabe was right about this Professor Lovemore Madhuku, after all: – a spiteful, condescending and unprincipled person.
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