Many of us in the journalism field will have been genuinely saddened by the death of Justice Wilson Sandura, whose judgements were often succinct and far-reaching, leaving his colleagues to hand down rulings as best they could. More often than not, Sandura’s judgements saw the law upheld in complex judgements although misdirected in others.
There were also cases where judges would castigate lawyers seen as unduly political or progressive. Indeed, it could be argued that the law, as in academia, had fallen victim to political priorities.
In particular, the supply of farms, vehicles and other household items like TVs to judges did nothing for their reputation. In fact, these gifts and trinkets coming from government’s patronage network compromised the judges. At the same time Sandura declined offers from government of farms when his colleagues were happy to take advantage of the many inappropriate offers made available to the judiciary.
The worrying aspect to all this is that the standard of judgements fell. Sandura understood the importance of this — and the danger. Many of his colleagues didn’t or they just ignored it.
Sandura passed a dissenting judgement in a constitutional case brought before the court by former MDC MP Roy Bennett when he was still behind bars on contempt of parliament charges.
Sandura differed with Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku while other judges, Luke Malaba, Maphios Cheda, and Elizather Gwaunza concurred with the chief justice to dismiss Bennett’s application.
Bennett argued that the punishment imposed on him constituted an inhuman and degrading penalty in violation of the constitution. “I would have granted the application,” Sandura said. Sandura also dissented in a key electoral case brought by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai a day before the disputed 2002 presidential election.
A great legal mind has ended but his rulings will always be with us.
“Made blunders again,” the Financial Gazette reported last weekend. The country was bracing for hunger , it said, following a disastrous cropping season.
Next to this was a picture of Agriculture minister Joseph Made, and the president’s private gardener. Also billed on the front page was a warning that fuel retailers face collapse.
So how does this contrast with how events are panning out across the country? There appears to be a general collapse of the economy with companies closing down, struggles for power among Mugabe’s henchmen, and purges taking place at a number of levels.
Perhaps the most egregious battle is that in which Shuvai Mahofa has taken control of a large swathe of Lowveld to consolidate the Masvingo power matrix of Zanu PF. She has taken on in this struggle Made whose profile includes an aerial trip to check the country’s agricultural harvest subsequent to which he managed to get every forecast wrong.
The safari community are waiting with bated breath for the depredations Mahofa’s gang is sure to bring to an otherwise well-managed community.
Remember Mugabe warned recently at his delayed birthday celebrations in Victoria Falls his supporters might also further invade safaris. He seems determined to leave a legacy of Zimbabwe ruins behind.
We liked the assertion by the president that he was tired. Is this something he has just realised? The country is also tired of course: Tired of him!
Mugabe was the same age as the late Lee Kuan Yew, founder of modern Singapore who died on Sunday. But there the similarity ends. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, Singapore is a wealthy and successful state which uses its human resources and innovations to benefit its people. Zimbabwe on the other hand is a once-prosperous nation which got a better head-start but squandered its resources on unproductive political jockeying. Compared to Lee Mugabe is a clear failure.
A group of unrepresentative students at the University of Cape Town have decided they don’t like a statue of Cecil Rhodes who was once prime minister of the Cape. They have expressed their objection to Rhodes by throwing faeces over his statue. So much for education! The vice-chancellor Max Price could show some backbone by standing up for his university. Any fool can throw sh.t over a statue. And besides, there are far more pressing problems in South Africa that need urgent attention than fighting statues of historical figures.
Some projects are doomed. They end as soon as they start. Such is the fate of United Movement of Democratic Change that was formed this year and suddenly collapsed without even reaching out to the electorate.
Some call it “MDC Zhing Zhong” for its lack of authenticity. Claiming to be popular with the electorate for the UMDC was fashionable but critically irrational. It was definitely going to suffer a stillbirth considering those involved in the project. Thinking the MDC Renewal Team’s Tendai Biti and MDC leader Welshman Ncube could merge and win the hearts of a disgruntled populace is unrealistic.
Like dew, the new kid on the block quickly evaporated without being noticed. Too naïve to traverse the rugged terrains manned by Zanu PF gangsterism, Muckraker is convinced that UMDC’s boardroom politics could never dislodge the monster regime in power for over three decades now.
NewsDay quoted an inside source from the party saying; “… We felt there was a group of people within the MDC Renewal Team who had secretly connived with another clique in the MDC led by Welshman Ncube to grab power without sticking to the roadmap we agreed on at Old Hararians …” By the way how many MDCs are there now? MDC, MDC-T, MDC Renewal, MDC-99 — Muckraker can’t remember the others.
We’ve been constantly suggesting in this column that political parties that sprout without indicating their clear intentions are either protégés of the ruling party or organisations hunting for donor funding. Biti, Ncube and others in the UMDC are noise-makers far detached from the demands of the electorate.
Doesn’t this signify MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is still the only true face representing opposition politics in Zimbabwe?
Threatened, vilified, incarcerated, beaten and maimed by the state apparatus, he seems to be standing stronger than those in rival opposition movements.
Yet it is also important to also ask: Is Tsvangirai still relevant or supporting him is like flogging a dead horse? 2018 will tell us.
Does government really care about attracting investment into the impoverished country when it can willy-nilly shift dates of the Trade Fair without justifying the move?
Such arrogance shown by Mugabe’s regime spells doom for an economy in critical need of capital injection. How can anyone sensible treat exhibitors like trivial marketers operating without schedules? Isn’t the Trade Fair — held in Bulawayo every year — likely to further lose its glitter due to disorganisation? Renowned for attracting thousands of businesspeople, the event has already charmed exhibitors from Germany, among other foreign countries, keen to showcase their products. And six weeks before the event, exhibitors are abruptly told the fanfare will commence a week later.
An exhibitor confided in Muckraker saying he demanded an explanation to the confusion that led to the unceremonious delay and the silly answer he got was: “We cannot tell you why. It is out of our hands … You have to see the bigger picture.”
Whatever that means, but certainly this is no reply. How does a serious potential investor reacts upon receiving such an anti-business response? Doesn’t this paint a negative picture of the Trade Fare, Bulawayo and Zimbabwe at large?
Nobody cares about the implications of changing dates on such a short notice. But flights will have to be re-booked at tremendous costs. Hotels and lodges already had other bookings (some prepaid) before the new dates. Who are they now going to kick out? What will happen to tonnes of printed material? Surely that’s a PR disaster.