Gono Violating Doctrine of Separation of Powers

YOUR edition of April 24 made very interesting reading as it painted a very ugly picture of the state of the inclusive government involved in a tug-of-war with itself.


Of particular interest to me were the articles that touched on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr Gideon Gono.  One article on the front page accused the Finance minister of hypocrisy and the other sympathised with MPs facing transport blues in trying to execute their tasks.  These articles set the tone for your paper and one may be forgiven for concluding which side your publication is on.

I do not have illusions about what the inclusive government can and must do.  It is a fact that the mere existence of a negotiated government, when people spoke their wishes clearly, is a tragedy for demo-
cracy. Our democratic values are being trampled upon every single day.

But with specific attention to the issue regarding the cars being dished out by the Reserve Bank, I think there are issues which the media is ignoring.

Joan Chittister once wrote: “Awareness of the sacred is what keeps the society together.”

Our constitution, no matter how defective, contains within itself values which we define as sacred.  They are critical to the continuance and a stability of our nation.  What Zanu PF has done to this sacred document over the past two decades is exactly what we expect from the devil, if given custody over the Holy Bible.  Mr Editor, it’s a shame but it is much worse if the MDC, now in bed with Zanu PF, is to perpetuate such nefarious contact.  

We, the people, refuse.

The doctrine of separation of powers is enshrined in our constitution, which creates three distinct organs of government in Chapters IV, V and VIII.  This doctrine is borne of the ancient wisdom that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Time and again history has given us reason to mistrust our governments, especially the current one which we did not elect.

The conduct of the RBZ Governor is a serious assault upon this doctrine.  It is not inspired by charity.  It is hunger for power: a desperate attempt to defraud the sacred values of our constitution for personal glory.  
We the people say no. Mr Editor, you will remember when the same governor dished out plasma screens and laptops to judges and there was an outcry. You will remember when a learned judge of the High Court was allocated a farm just before hearing a critical case involving the former Attorney-General
Gula Ndebele, and there was an outcry.  

We are still worried that the whole bench of judges in our country are “new farmers” yet they continue to preside over land disputes. We are still worried that years after the Judicial Services Bill was signed into law, magistrates are still being salaried by the Public Service.  They work under one master and are paid by the other.  The judiciary is heavily compromised.

We understand that the executive has got the financial and physical muscle required to run government.  The judiciary has got no army of its own, while parliament has got no treasury.  Somehow, the executive will have an influence over the judiciary and the legislature.  However, there is a civilised way in which these three organs can complement each other without sacrificing the values which the constitution seeks to protect.

It is mischievous for the Reserve Bank governor, being an executive agent, to go to individual members of the judiciary or the legislature with “incentives”. The RBZ is not an NGO, or a donor organ.  It is funded by the taxpayer and thus cannot afford the luxury of dishing out resources with the arrogance of a god.

Where there is real need for such executive bodies as the RBZ to intervene in other government bodies financially, there are heads in all three organs.  Without blowing the trumpet, the executive can, through the Speaker or the Chief Justice transfer the scarce resources from one organ to the other and they become the property of that particular body.  If the legislature gets relief from the executive, individual members of the legislature do not necessarily have to know the source of the relief so that their independence is not compromised.

Gono is potentially a good candidate for prosecution in this country.  He must respect the independence of both the legislature and the judiciary. He cannot be setting the legislature against itself.  If his contact regarding the cars offered to the legislature is genuine charity, he ought to have given the cars to the Speaker of Parliament and let not the right hand know what the left hand is doing.  His sincerity is subject to doubt as one can easily deduce from the press statement he issued regarding the re-call of the offered cars.

We expect the MDC MPs to be alert and continue to respect the values of our nation.  People who hunger for power appeal to our sense of greed.  The MDC MPs must know where we are coming from.  They represent a suffering and angry people and they are part of this suffering people.  We refuse the choice of expediency over our values.  There is nothing special about the legislators to warrant tearing down our constitution.  Judicial officers have been commuting and judges living in abject poverty since “Hondo Yeminda”.

 

  • Dzikamai Francis Bere can be contacted on 912 415 524, 011 799 009, or (04) 300750.

BY DZIKAMAI FRANCIS BERE

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