By Lloyd Takawira
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed concern over a chilling statement issued by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s threatening judges following the ouster of Chief Justice Luke Malaba.
In a statement, ZLHR’s said the unwarranted attack by Ziyambi demeaned and undermined the judiciary.
“The statement by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs does enormous disservice to Zimbabwe and its citizens and sends the wrong message to all those who cherish justice and the rule of law.
“Although professing to respect the above decision proceeded to criticise and demean both the decision and the Honourable Judge, who on behalf of the High Court delivered the judgment.The criticism is in our view intemperate, less than measured and not befitting of an Honourable Minister of the Government of Zimbabwe,” read the statement.
ZLHR added that the ministers statement threatening judges was undemocratic.
“It also contained threats to judicial independence which are unacceptable in a democratic nation and are inconsistent with the doctrine of the separation of powers as enshrined in our Constitution.”
The lawyers refuted allegations by Ziyambi that they are working to destabilize the country .
“We are further concerned and disturbed by the patently false narrative in the statement that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), is using money to capture various state institutions and to destabilise the Government of Zimbabwe.There is not an iota of truth in these reckless and defamatory allegations. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs knows this only too well”. read ZLHR statement .
“ZLHR is a law-based organisation of law-abiding legal practitioners whose sole objective is to promote and support observance of the rule of law and the promotion of constitutionalism.In our efforts we have collaborated with both civil society and various arms of the Government of Zimbabwe; the Minster of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will attest to this. We have litigated extensively in order to defend the indigent and defenceless and to uphold the rule of law. In this respect, our work speaks for itself. We take strong exception to the false and defamatory statements of and about ZLHR and our rights in this respect are fully reserved.
“It is our hope that on reflection, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will withdraw these gratuitously offensive, defamatory and false claims against ZLHR and his contemptuous utterances against the judiciary as they are unwarranted and harmful to the interests of Zimbabwe.”
Ziyambi came out guns blazing after the high court ruled that Chief Justice Luke Malaba term of office had expired and could not be extended .