Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday sensationally claimed that the European Union (EU) and the United States were sponsoring non-governmental organizations to interfere with government activities.
Hon Ziyambi was against the High Court judges, Justices Happias Zhou, Edith Mushore and Helena Charehwa for their landmark ruling on Saturday that former Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who turned 70 at the weekend, had ceased to hold the top judicial post.
Minister Ziyambi criticism came after the judges had held that all incumbent judges of the senior courts could not benefit from an amendment to the Constitution extending their term limits post-retirement age as they went on to reiterate that such constitutional amendments had to be put to a public referendum, which was not done.
He insisted that European Union and United States of America were sponsoring human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe adding that he was going to expose them when the right time come.
“I will expose the human rights lawyers when the right time comes. They have their human rights defenders whom they pay with money that they are given by USAid and the European Union. The time will come and I will name and shame them, I have the proof,” Ziyambi said.
“I believe in what I said and I will not change. When the time comes, I will expose the human rights lawyers.” he added.
However, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) described Ziyambi’s criticism of judges as “intemperate and not befitting of an honorable minister of government”.
They rubbished claims by the Justice minister that human rights activists were using money given to them by the EU and US to capture various State institutions.
“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,” ZLHR said in a statement.
In a statement, ZimRights said Ziyambi’s utterances were an attack on the judiciary and a threat to the personal security of the judges.
Furthermore, former Zanu PF politburo member and former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo said Ziyambi’s utterances exposed Mnangagwa’s administration.
“On paragraph 14 of his statement which is in contempt of court, Justice minister Ziyambi says: ‘We are now going to poke the enemy in the eye and confront it’. These are Gukurahundi-like threats, that Mnangagwa likes to make, coming from his Justice minister, of all ministers,” Moyo tweeted.
MDC Alliance vice-president Welshman Ncube said Ziyambi’s anger on the Malaba issue was in contempt of court.
“The unrestrained fury with which ED’s Justice minister has reacted to the judgment of the High Court on Malaba’s term of office not only constitutes contempt of court, but also evidences panic and confusion in the face of a rare setback to its authoritarian consolidation agenda,” he said.
Minister Ziyambi sentiments came after the High Court of Zimbabwe had nullified the extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba term in office by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.