Panicking Moyo in hurry to clear corruption charge before political temperature hots up

Former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo

HARARE – Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, is ready to clear his name in the wake of a ruling by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) that threw out his application.

In a statement issued through his lawyer, Hussein Ranchhod and Company, on Wednesday Moyo said he was looking forward to the opportunity to present the appropriate evidence and facts that would “once and for all clear his name”.

“The ConCourt today (Wednesday) issued its verdict on our client’s challenge to the legality of his arrest by Zacc, the directive by the Prosecutor-General to order his arrest, the arresting powers of Zacc (the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) and the validity of search warrants issues by Zacc.

“The ConCourt did not make a ruling on the issues that were brought before it, indicating that it was not the forum for such pronouncements,” the statement reads.

“In its opinion, such a ruling can and should be made by a lower court, notably the magistrates’ court. The ConCourt in no way condoned nor confirmed the legality of the arresting parties in this dispute,” Moyo’s lawyers further wrote.

They also said Moyo maintained that his arrest was unlawful, and suggested he was taking the matter to the Executive after the judiciary pronounced itself on the matter.

“Our client maintains that he was unlawfully arrested and looks forward to challenging, with the utmost vigour, this conduct in the appropriate forum.

“As regards to the charges levelled against him, our client reiterates his innocence and again looks forward to the opportunity to present the appropriate evidence and facts that will once and for all clear his name,” the statement further says.

On Wednesday, the ConCourt dismissed Moyo’s bid to challenge his arrest by Zacc.

Technically, he now has to answer to a raft of charges being preferred against him by Zacc before the magistrates’ court.

Moyo had been arrested by Zacc last November after he was accused of defrauding the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) of over $400 000.

The Zanu PF Tsholotsho North Member of Parliament immediately approached the apex court challenging Zacc’s arresting powers.

It is this ConCourt application which was thrown out on Wednesday.

The court ruled it was outside its jurisdiction to determine the question of the lawfulness of his arrest since they are covered by Acts of Parliament, which are dealt with by the lower courts.

The ruling by the ConCourt basically puts Moyo at the mercy of Zacc, which the Higher and Tertiary Education minister has persistently accused of being at the beck and call of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Recently, President Robert Mugabe revealed that the tiff between Moyo and Mnangagwa stemmed from the 2004 “Tsholotsho Declaration” that saw the latter being expelled from Zanu PF.

In the context of the factional fights playing out in Zanu PF, Moyo and Mnangagwa belong to opposing camps.

Moyo is thought to be a key member of the Generation 40 (G40) faction opposed to the prospect of Mnangagwa becoming Mugabe’s heir apparent.

Team Lacoste, a rival to G40, is fighting in Mnangagwa’s corner.

Zacc has also been caught up in the factional fights.

While the commission is supposed to be independent, its critics allege certain of the vice president’s allies, of note Goodson Nguni, are in charge of key organs in Zacc.

Whereas in the past Zacc was under the Home Affairs ministry, it is now administered under the Office of the President and Cabinet, where perceived staunch allies of Mnangagwa, among them the chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, wield enormous influence.

Crucially, there is a perception that the justice delivery system is prone to manipulation by the Executive. As the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Mnangagwa has oversight over the justice delivery system hence there is concern among functionaries in the Generation 40 faction that the ConCourt ruling has thrown Moyo into the vice president’s hands.

Legal experts said yesterday political control and manipulation could see the case being dealt with impartially.

Dewa Mavhinga, a legal expert and Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said the administration of justice and the judiciary in Zimbabwe was compromised and subject to political control and manipulation so much that it was difficult to say with any degree of accuracy whether Moyo’s case would be dealt with impartially.

“A lot will unfortunately depend on political influence and factional control of the instruments of justice administration,” he said.

“Moyo’s case points to the urgent need for comprehensive reform of institutions of justice to ensure that they are genuinely independent and have the capacity to deliver justice without any consideration to political factions,” he added.

Other law experts said the ConCourt ruling opens doors for Zacc to pursue and arrest Moyo and take him to the magistrates’ court for trial.

University of Zimbabwe constitutional law lecturer, Greg Linnington, said while he was still to study the matter in detail, it was possible that Moyo can now be arrested and brought before the magistrates’ court.

Another lawyer, Jacob Mafume, who is also spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party, said Moyo can now be brought to court like all citizens of the country.

“Yes, he can be arrested. He confuses political drama as legal arguments,” said Mafume.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) has welcomed the ruling by the ConCourt.

Makomborero Haruzivishe, the secretary-general for Zinasu, said it was important that the truth be known since tens of thousands of students were failing to pay fees as they were now being forced to fill the gaps created by rampant corruption in the education sector. – Daily News