Zimbabwean under-fire Justice Minister plays down judges threats

Justice, Legal and parliamentary Affairs Minister Mr Ziyambi Ziyambi

JUSTICE Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has played down fears judges who bravely passed a ruling reversing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term of office by five more years would be victimised.

This follows hurtful statements the minister directed at Justice Happias Zhou and his colleagues Saturday following the ruling.

Ziyambi accused the country’s bench of colluding with the opposition and hostile NGOs to try and bring the Mnangagwa government down.

He declared “we (government) are going to poke the enemy in the eye and confront it.”

Sentiments by the minister have brought chills among many who now fear the judges could be victimised as did happen to former Chief Justice Antony Gubbay at the turn of the century who bravely passed rulings against the then Robert Mugabe led administration.

During the period, war veterans, a militant Zanu PF support base, were allowed to storm judges’ chambers to confront the jurists as it became apparent government was nolonger interested with the security of the court officials.

Asked if government could guarantee the safety of current judges, Ziyambi said the judges had no reason to worry about their safety.

“Are they worried about their security?” Ziyambi said.

Ziyambi could not be brought to discuss further about the physical security of the judges, but continued to argue Justice Zhou was a compromised court official.

He stood by his earlier comments alleging Zhou and his judiciary colleagues were captured and were playing to the whims and caprices of their paymasters in order to destabilise the country.

“What l said, l stand by it and one day l will unleash the proof. I cannot be forced to retract or not to say something that l know is the truth because there is somebody out there who will wrongly interpret it.

The minister said it was already in the public domain that the judiciary was captured but refused his vitriolic statements could incite any form of victimisation on the judges.

Government is set to appeal Saturday’s ruling this Monday.

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