Zim?s rule of law ?alive and well?

THE Zimbabwe government has described as “uncorroborated” a report by an international panel of high-ranking lawyers who said that democracy and the rule of law in the country were “in the gravest peril.”

In the report produced for the International Bar Association (IBA), the laywers said the government of President Robert Mugabe was deeply implicated in the intimidation of judges and lawyers for political ends.

“It is disappointing that the report merely repeats uncorroborated assertions and impressions that the IBA team reached during its so-called investigation, prior to its departure from Zimbabwe,” said Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in President Mugabe’s office.

The report, released in London this week, called on Zimbabwe to uphold the law with respect to illegal occupations of white-owned farms by government activists.

The report also said: “The events of the last 12 months have put the rule of law in Zimbabwe in the gravest peril.”

The report said “demeaning and defamatory” statements had been publicly made about individual judges, while the Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was singled out for criticism for his alleged attacks on the judiciary.

The IBA delegation included the former chief justice of India, A.M. Ahmadi, and George Bizos, counsel to former South African president Nelson Mandela. US District Judge Andre Davis also took part.

While in Zimbabwe, the team met with Mugabe, civic and special groups and individuals, including Anthony Gubbay, the country’s then top judge who was forced to resign from his post as the country’s chief justice after pressure from the government.

Moyo accused Bizos of insulting Zimbabwe by making “preposterous claim that land reform in Zimbabwe are comparable to the unlawful and immoral seizure of African land by an apartheid minority in South Africa”.

Moyo went on to say that it was “self evident to any fair-minded person that the judiciary system in Zimbabwe is functioning well without any interference whatsoever, save perhaps from teams such as the IBA whose report seeks to inflame an otherwise settled situation.” - AFP


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