‘Should prosecution be initiated, it would be perceived more as political persecution rather than criminal prosecution’.
REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
CHANCES that Vice-President Joice Mujuru, accused of attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe among a raft of other allegations, will be prosecuted are slim, political analysts have said.
The analysts told The Standard last week that the mudslinging against Mujuru was nothing but a dirty political campaign that stood no chance in a court of law.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Professor Eldred Masunungure said similar calls in the past to arrest top officials accused of corruption did not yield results and the same was likely to happen with VP Mujuru.
He said only time would tell whether or not there was any substance in the allegations to warrant prosecution. Masunungure said should prosecution be initiated, it would be perceived more as political persecution rather than criminal prosecution.
“Only time will tell whether he (President Mugabe) has the political will to do that and translate his words into action,” said Masunungure.
“While the probability may be there, it will be dented as many people will see it as a political rather than legal process.”
Another political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza said so far it appeared there was no credible evidence against Mujuru. He said it was understood that the calls for her arrest were part of an intense blitz designed to cripple her politically.
“This tirade is simply to knock her out of the succession race,” he said.
Recently, Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, told our sister paper The Southern Eye recently that the allegations leveled against VP Mujuru and other ministers aligned to her were mere political allegations with no legal ramifications.
“Political issues that turn legal are only realised when there is the involvement of the police or Attorney-General,” he said.
“All that is happening now is in the political domain and all this will end when successful politicians emerge. It is a political process. It becomes a legal issue when the judiciary is involved,” Charamba said.
Mujuru and those perceived to be aligned to her camp — among them Labour minister Nicholas Goche, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, expelled former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and expelled former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda — have all been fingered in sensational plots to assassinate President Mugabe.
However, no credible evidence has been offered proving that Mujuru was linked to a plot to unconstitutionally remove Mugabe.
First Lady Grace Mugabe set the ball rolling during her “Meet the People” rallies at which Mujuru became the target of her vitriolic attacks over corruption allegations and ineptitude.
Western nations have also been watching developments in the country with keen interest.
Masunungure said Mugabe’s recent remarks that he did not trust white people were unfortunate at a time the country was desperate for investment to kick-start the economy.
Mugabe alleged that Mujuru had been conspiring with the West and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to bring Zanu-PF down.
“We know the infiltrations that have come. We know the discussions that have been happening to link up with MDC and be one with America which then will pour lots of money,” he said.
“That’s simplistic thinking; you can’t. I don’t trust a white man at all, never, ever …”
Masunungure said such rhetoric did neither the country nor Zanu PF any good.
“Such rhetoric is a deterrent to potential investment. How we treat foreign investors, particularly from the West, is important. Investment is based on partnerships, which depend on trust,” he said.
“There are just too many policy inconsistencies in Zanu PF and there have been complaints from business about this.”
Masunungure said racial overtones in Mugabe’s remarks were going to discourage potential investors from the West.