HomeOpinion & AnalysisMuckraker: Chinamasa’s wacky take on justice abuse

Muckraker: Chinamasa’s wacky take on justice abuse

It was useful to have Patrick Chinamasa’s views on what he claims is an abuse of justice by white farmers who have appealed through the courts against the seizure of their farms. He was giving evidence to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice.

“Those farmers that are challenging the acquisition are abusing the justice delivery system,” he declared. “Upon gazetting, the farms become state land and if anyone occupies state land without a permit it is criminal.”
So those farmers who seek relief through the courts against the arbitrary acquisition of their homes and businesses are “abusing” the justice delivery system? Meanwhile, Chinamasa made it clear there was nothing wrong with judges being allocated farms. As Zimbabweans they are equally entitled to land, he said. Being allocated land has not compromised the judges’ professionalism, he said, because the law was clear on the procedure once a farm had been gazetted for settlement.
Really? President Mugabe has been warning that farmers who do not conform to Zanu PF policy on land will lose it. No worry about “gazetted” conditions there. It will just be redistributed, he made clear.
And don’t we recall a judge losing his farm not so long ago because somebody more important had taken a fancy to it?
EU diplomats based in Harare need to inform their governments of Chinamasa’s views. Here we have a Minister of Justice calling the right to pursue appeals through the courts an “abuse” of the justice delivery system. What does that tell us about Zanu PF’s attachment to the rule of law?

Will EU officials who are due to meet a delegation led by Simbarashe Mumbengegwi seeking to have sanctions lifted ask him why there has been no progress in the pursuit of the killers of David Stevens, Martin Olds and Tonderai Ndira?
What had their offence been except to challenge Zanu PF’s authority?
Mumbengegwi also needs to be tackled on selective justice. Zanu PF won’t recognise the Sadc Tribunal ruling because it doesn’t suit them. What sort of judicial system is that? And why were Zimbabwean judges assigned to the tribunal if the government proposed to ignore its findings?
Let’s not hear any more nonsense about ratification. Would Zanu PF have minded if the ruling had gone their way?
We warned some months ago that any delegation with Mumbengegwi at its head would be unlikely to be taken seriously abroad. Let’s see how he gets on in Brussels.

The Herald slipped a paragraph into its report on Chinamasa’s evidence to the parliamentary portfolio committee saying “Zimbabwe’s laws require the government to pay for improvements for farms while for land acquired (it) rests on Britain, the former colonial power”.
It omitted to mention that the laws in question were firmly rejected by voters in the 2000 referendum. And how many farmers have been compensated for improvements? The EU should ask for the figures.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF continues to seize land and then can’t understand why the EU won’t lift sanctions. It obviously needs to be spelt out for these slow learners. EU governments cannot be expected to fund policies that lead to agricultural collapse. Zimbabwe 10 years ago was a self-sufficient country which exported a surplus of crops to the region. Today it is a regional beggar with the EU supplying it with food. And investors won’t put their money in a country where property is not secure.
We can understand Zanu PF not grasping any of this. They are economically brain dead. But what dismays us is the MDC going along with these expeditions abroad which they know can only result in failure unless there is a sea change in thinking at home. Zanu PF sanctions need to be removed first. Then international sanctions.

President Zuma’s intervention has been helpful in certain respects. For instance while in Harare he met the three individuals at the heart of the “outstanding issues” dispute despite opposition from Mugabe’s office. In particular they didn’t want him to meet Roy Bennett.
But Zuma pressed ahead with his own agenda and was able to gain movement in respect of all three. Full details are yet to be disclosed.
Zuma also spoke to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi. Again, details have not been released but we recall the visit to Zimbabwe of South African military officers last year and their revealing findings presented to Zuma. The National Security Council is yet to function regularly while the sinister JOC, blamed for the 2008 electoral violence, continues to function as if nothing has changed.

Does anyone know this organisation called the World Federation of Democratic Youths? The Herald told us on Saturday that “the World Federation of Democratic Youths has hailed the land reform programme for economically empowering indigenous Zimbabweans”.
We were told that after touring Lagnha and Raty farms (dubious spellings) in Mashonaland Central WFDY secretary-general Cde Jesus Mora said: ‘There is no economy in the history of this world that has thrived without full ownership of land.
“This move by the government of Zimbabwe is commendable and we hope other African states will also learn some lessons from this programme.”
Obviously the delegation did not tour Kondozi! “Cde Mora took a swipe at Western governments for maintaining illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe”, the Herald said. Obviously “Cde” Mora does not know that sanctions were imposed on President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party as a way of persuading them to restore democracy in the country and to respect human rights.
Is this the same outfit that condemned the repression in Burma? In October 2007 the organisation posted on its website a statement condemning the regime in Burma for violating human rights.
“The World Federation of Democratic Youths is deeply concerned about the ongoing repression against the peace-loving youth and people in Burma (Myanmar) and their struggle,” read their statement.
“The past weeks’ people’s struggles have been posing a serious challenge to the Burmese military junta, which has responded with thousands of troops pouring onto the streets killing, injuring and detaining many people. Internet facilities and communication networks have been cut. We strongly denounce this regrettable, inhumane and brutal attempt to quell the fair protests of the Burmese people.
“In Burma the ruling military regime called the State Peace and Development Council, despite resoundingly losing power in a democratic election, has shown no willingness to hand over power to the people and elected party.”
Only in Burma?

Meanwhile, the Herald told us “Zanu-PF’s Harare Province has given MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai a grace period to ‘take practical steps’ regarding the lifting of sanctions”.
“The youths had given him a March 24 ultimatum to start lobbying for an end to the widely-discredited embargo in line with his Global Political Agreement obligations,” the Herald reported.
It quoted Harare youth chairperson Jim Kunaka reiterating the youths would take “unspecified action” against the PM if he did not lobby for an end to the sanctions that he and his party supposedly invited on Zimbabwe.
Who is behind these threats against the PM?  We want to know. Obviously, this is not an initiative by Kunaka and his colleagues. There is an invisible hand behind all these threats against Tsvangirai, probably the same hand that controls the state media.
And has Tsvangirai raised this issue with President Mugabe when they have tea and pancakes together?
Has he made it clear to the president that sanctions were brought about as a result of Zanu PF’s failure to respect human rights?
The best illustration of that was the police raid on Delta Gallery on Tuesday. Photograhs of election violence were removed. Although later returned, this episode represented a serious assault on freedom of expression.

So African National Congress Youth League leader, Julius Malema, thinks a free press is a threat to a sitting government?
Malema vowed at a Human Rights gathering in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, never to allow the country to be “run by journalists”.
City Press, reporting on Sunday, quoted him saying: “If you are not careful of journalists, they will bring down the government. We will never allow this country to be run by journalists.” 
He again sang his controversial “Shoot the Boer” song and accused reporters of picking on ANC leaders and prominent black politicians.
While Malema was threatening the free press in South Africa, the ANCYL’s secretary for international relations, Abner Mosase, was praising the gazetting of indigenisation laws in Harare saying South African youths supported the new regulations.
He perhaps had not realised that at the same time Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono was denouncing the laws as damaging to investment. We are happy he has finally woken up to reality. Just a pity that ANC youths are keen to impose the same failed policies on their own country.
We should remind Gono that it is not only the new laws that scare off foreign investment. Raiding and emptying bank accounts of organisations without their consent also frightens off investors.

Muckraker has previously lamented the quality of sports journalism in the local media but ZTV takes the award for sheer lack of depth.
Reports are riddled with clichés, lack substance and are to a great extent mere reportage that so and so has left the country for this or that tournament without knowledgeable analysis to prove the reporter’s command of the topic or sporting discipline.
During Monday’s main news bulletin it was reported that the Zimbabwe cricket team, still smarting from their 4-1 series defeat by West Indies recently, were seeking to regain “lost pride” when they face West Indies “A” in a four-day warm-up match ahead of April’s ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
“A” sides are in fact the second-string teams from the Test-playing countries and warm-up matches (known as tour matches) — usually played between a touring international team and an invitational side put up by the hosts — are for the purpose of match fitness and acclimatising ahead of the main itinerary. Accordingly results are not the major concern and matches normally end in dreary draws.
Just how the TV reporter thought our vanquished cricketers can possibly “regain lost pride” in such a match beats us.
Then we had the other reporter fuming at Caps United’s poor showing in the 1 all draw with South Africa’s Moroka Swallows in the first-leg of the Caf Confederation Cup first round, boldly declaring that “the writing was on the wall for them” (Caps).
His qualm was that Caps ought to have utilised home advantage and won the rubber. At least they had the knowledgeable Stanley Katsande, interviewed as a studio guest, educating the guy that a 1-1 draw was not a disaster and can actually be overturned, especially in South Africa against a team that does not have a big support base.  
The saddest thing is that there are a lot of sports fanatics out there who know their stuff but do not have the privilege of a pen or mike like the journos.  

Muckraker’s attention has been drawn to a curious development. Grace Kwinjeh, who will be remembered in the trenches during the political battles of 10 years ago, has resurfaced in the depths of central Africa.
She is now (or at least was last year) a senior reporter with the New Times, a Rwandan government mouthpiece.
We know this because last year Human Rights Watch took issue with her for refusing to give them the right of reply to an attack she made on their executive director, Kenneth Roth, in the New Times.
She accused HRW of (among other things) “sanitising those attempting to negate the 1994 genocide in Rwanda”.
When Georgette Gagnon, executive director of HRW’s Africa Division, wrote a response and submitted it to the New Times, they refused to publish it. HRW was obliged to publish its response Online alongside Grace’s piece.
They made the point that New Times should have referred to the points raised by Roth before rebutting them.
Roth had observed in his piece that even a government that does many good things does not have license to ignore human rights when it finds them inconvenient. Political pluralism, free expression, and genuinely competitive elections are not optional in a genuine democracy, but essential, he wrote.
In a clear reference to the Rwandan government he argued that “no one should be allowed to manipulate the 1994 genocide to play on the heartstrings of the international community and thereby justify repression”.
All elementary stuff you would think, but Grace stood guard for the regime.

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