By Robert Tapfumaneyi
Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has added her voice to concern over the arrest and prosecution of former finance minister Ignatius Chombo.
The once-powerful but now-disgraced politician is charged with breaching the Prevention of Corruption Act, criminal abuse of office and fraud.
The offences were allegedly committed between 1997 and 2005.
Chombo had been in former President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet since the year 2000. He was only arrested this month after Mugabe was dramatically toppled from power in a military coup.
“Why have they waited until now, are these guanine prosecutions? The fact that these are cases from a long time ago should tell you something immediately,” Mtetwa told NewZimbabwe.com earlier this week.
The opposition has long accused Mugabe of presiding over a notoriously corrupt administration over the 37 years he was in power.
Although the military claimed it was rooting out criminal elements around the veteran leader when it made seized power, Chombo is the only former cabinet minister so far arrested prosecuted.
Cabinet colleagues targeted also belonged to the same G40 Zanu PF faction as Chombo. The group is now on the run after losing the succession fight the Lacoste Faction led by new President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Critics have said a genuine anti-corruption crackdown would spare none of Mugabe’s former senior lieutenants.
“There are dockets against a whole lot of other people,” said Mtetwa.
“So, clearly, there can be no question that factional politics is at play. The law is being used to deal with political enemies and this is a continuation of what has been going on.”
She insisted that all corrupt officials should be brought to justice whatever their political allegiances.
“It has to be everybody; no selectivity! If there are crimes that have been committed everybody should, in fact, be put on trial; it shouldn’t be selective at all.
“It shouldn’t be about which faction you belong to; are you on our side or the other side.”
Mtetwa continued, “If the law is being used to right the wrongs of the past, this should be done with everybody.
“There has to be an acknowledgement of what happened in the past; victims should feel vindicated one way of the other.
“There has to be apologises made, not because people are looking for immunity, but because people genuinely feel remorseful.
“I can understand people saying no, people should first acknowledge the wrongs of the past. As to how that is done, we have a national healing a body in the country that should assist us in doing that, actually.”