Ministerial hypocrisy at its very best

Some statements really do beggar belief. Like Zimbabwe's (in)Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, suddenly announcing that he had discovered corruption within the country's judicial system. Better late than never, you might say.

Richard Lee's picture

Author

Strategic communications for WWF

May 1st, 2012

Some statements really do beggar belief. Like Zimbabwe's (in)Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, suddenly announcing that he had discovered corruption within the country's judicial system. Better late than never, you might say.

But wait - the Minister was not talking about the way in which the judicial system (and the very rule of law) in Zimbabwe has been corrupted and co-opted by ZANU-PF. He was not refering to the fact that MDC politicians, civil society figures and other opposing voices are arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained while no one has yet been brought to book for the bloodshed around the 2008 elections - or indeed for all the other instances of ZANU-PF orchestrated violence.

Nor was he criticising the system for allowing farcical trials - like the treason trial of the Egypt 6 - to run their course.

No - Minister Chinamasa was speaking about how collusion between 'corrupt prison officials and private lawyers' was undermining the system. How he could stand there with a straight face and say that corruption of the system started at the bottom - with prison officers - rather than at the top with his boss, President Mugabe, and himself is beyond me.

How he could demand that laywers 'shun corruption and collectively work to weed it out' when his party has been responsible for destroying the independence of the judiciary, the concept of the separation of powers and any hope that ordinary Zimbabweans have of genuine recourse to the law - is simply astonishing.

Contacts

  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099