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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Chinamasa is undermining democracy in Zimbabwe
    Mutsa Murenje
    June 23, 2013

    He can even be my father (given his age, 66 years) but he deserves to know the truth. He isn’t ashamed of himself and appears to have forgotten that he lost the very election held on March 29, 2008 to the Movement for Democratic Change’s John Nyamande in Makoni Central. As we all know, Patrick Anthony Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, polled 4,050 votes whilst Nyamande had 7,060 votes. There can be no doubt that we are dealing with a reject here. A reject isn’t a good thing and very few people for instance, would want any recycled rejects. Zitye izitye no matter what!

    Chinamasa has been Robert Mugabe’s trusted lieutenant since time immemorial and has been particularly useful from July 2000 when he was appointed as the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Following his appointment, numerous judges have resigned complaining of political pressure. On 9 February 2001, Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay took early retirement at Chinamasa’s suggestion. Thereafter, Chinamasa held meetings with senior Justices urging them to leave for their own safety. To date, all and sundry agree that we have a compromised judiciary in Zimbabwe. We don’t seem to have the separation between and among the three arms of government. The current Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, and members of the bench are all Mugabe’s appointees. Do we then expect such people to deliver justice to us?

    Mugabe’s ascendancy to power in 2008 was made possible by none other than Chidyausiku who inaugurated him following that sham election of 27 June 2008. I don’t mean to deviate from my focus on Chinamasa; I have just failed to avoid the temptation of digressing a bit in my attempt to drive my point home. It is people like Chinamasa and Chidyausiku who have entrenched tyranny in Zimbabwe. Their striking similarity is that they are all political appointees and their allegiance is more to Mugabe than to our beloved country Zimbabwe. It is from this standpoint that I have concluded, and rightly so, that Chinamasa is undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.

    In case you aren’t aware, dear readers, Chinamasa is notorious for declaring several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) illegal, including a leading human rights organisation, Amani Trust. Amani Trust provides succour to victims of torture. Chinamasa justified his declaration by claiming that the organisation was working with the British government to unseat Mugabe from power and by implication, to also destabilise the nation. It is a public secret today that most NGOs are accused of being conduits of illegal regime change in Zimbabwe. I may as well be accused of being sponsored by the British and the Americans as well as their Western allies for me to be writing the way I am. They don’t believe I am independent and capable of forming my own opinions without being influenced by anybody. Such is life in Zimbabwe since ‘independence.’

    In addition, Chinamasa seized Peter Baker’s farm, Rocklands, with the help of the police in February 2003. Eight months down the line, the farm’s water supply had been squandered thereby undermining its future productivity and that of neighbouring farms. Strictly speaking, it isn’t only democracy that has been ruthlessly trampled upon but our very economic and agricultural progress has been defiled by this shameless and ruthless man.

    What has made me to pen this piece, however, is his (Chinamasa’s) recent application to the Constitutional Court. He did so unilaterally, ignoring the fact that the current Zimbabwean government is negotiated and that its end definitely requires the same negotiation that brought it into being. However, Chinamasa is an overzealous man out to impress Prince Robert! Otherwise how would one describe such shameless behaviour in a democratising world? Remember, dear reader, that mind isn’t a jurisprudential mind and yet have a deep penchant for legal matters! I may, after all, have to go to law school. I am still young and can study and become a legal mind so that I won’t keep quiet when it comes to matters related to the science and knowledge of law.

    I am out here to make a difference not only in Zimbabwe but also in the region and world at large. I know the costs of dictatorship in Zimbabwe. I am coming from a social work background and have in recent times been typically immersed in issues of forced migration. In fact, I am planning to undertake PhD studies in forced migration or conflict management. Millions of Zimbabweans are here in South Africa where I am writing from. Some are here legally and while others are irregular immigrants. Many of these Zimbabweans in the diaspora want to go home if things normalise there. But, as Professor Roger Zetter of the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre observed, “…there is no war in Zimbabwe, the ongoing instability there, however, has produced familiar conditions of protracted exile of probably 2 million Zimbabweans, mainly in South Africa.”

    Furthermore, the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) remains a continuing concern for international actors and it requires nothing but action to secure protection and sustainable solutions to their displacement. We are tired of destroyed homes and livelihoods, increased vulnerability, disempowered communities, and collapsed social networks and common bonds. It is unfortunate that Chinamasa has chosen to continue undermining democracy in our country so that we won’t have a lasting solution to our political and economic challenges which he, unfortunately, played a part in bringing.

    In conclusion, I continue to call upon the leadership of the Republic of Zimbabwe to engage in positive activities that will move the country forward, ensure its progress and stability after having gone through 33 years of tyrannical government. I put it to you! God bless you all.

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