In a serious indictment of our judiciary system, the prosecutor veered off from legal proceedings to quote the Bible as a basis to justify a harsh sentence – he referred to Numbers 16 and said in the days of the old people who questioned authority would be stoned to death or punished severely as in the case of ‘a section of the Israelite society who questioned Moses’ authority – and Moses’ asked the Lord to punish them – and there were set apart with all their belongings – and the earth split open and swallowed them with all their belongings.
Nyazamba quoted the Bible further and referred to Romans 13 with something to the effect that ‘Everyone must obey the state authority as it is ordained by God, because not authority exists without God’s permission. Existing authorities have been put there by God; whoever opposes them opposes God’s orders.’
Relying on this irrelevant reference to the Bible, Nyazamba pleaded for the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for all six accused persons saying that a revolt was likely in Zimbabwe last February as they were many similarities between Zimbabwe and Egypt including economic difficulties, and a disgruntled populace.
He further asked for the six accused to be committed to custody pending sentencing set for 2.15pm tomorrow (Wednesday) 21 March – but the magistrate refused so the six were let free to go and return for sentencing.
It is clear that the present case is highly political, and will not be decided on the basis of the law, but of political positioning – and based on a desire by the Zanu PF run state to strike fear in the hearts of pro-democracy activists ahead of planned elections under conditions tilted in favour of Zanu PF.
We call colleagues locally, regionally and globally to stand in solidarity with the six colleagues and to demand an immediate end to this political persecution through prosecution.
Dewa Mavhinga is the regional coordinator and advocacy for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.