Statement by Senator David Coltart Regarding the Further Prosecution of Senator Roy Bennett for "Hoarding Maize"
By Senator David Coltart (from davidcoltart.com)
Bulawayo, 2 April 2010
The MDC formation under the leadership of Professor Arthur Mutambara is deeply concerned by the new prosecution of Senator Roy Bennett of the MDC (T), commenced with the service of a summons on him on the 30th March 2010, on allegations that he hoarded maize 9 years ago.
Section 18(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that "If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time". The intent behind this provision is to respect the principle that justice delayed is justice denied. In other words it is a fundamental breach of a person's human rights if prosecutions are not brought expeditiously against a person accused of crime. If there is a delay a person accused of a crime may not, for example, be able to call witnesses in his defence. The public interest also demands that crimes be responded to quickly.
This provision is of course no bar to the police instituting proceedings against a criminal who committed an offence a long time ago and whose involvement in a crime is only recently established. Furthermore it is no bar to a prosecution being brought when a crime is only recently discovered, even though it may have happened a long time ago - such as the discovery of a fraud.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur G.O. Mutambara's Parliamentary Maiden Speech
Understanding and Embracing the New Dispensation in Zimbabwe
25 March 2009
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Cabinet Ministers, Honorable members of Parliament I rise to make my maiden speech in this august house. We are at a stage in our country where we are building bridges. We are at that juncture where we have found each other. We have come together; we must stay together, work together and deliver on the promise of our revolution. This is national interest time. We have embarked on an irreversible process of inclusiveness with the clear understanding that the GPA of 15th September 2008 is the only workable arrangement in our country. There is unprecedented unanimity among our citizens on this position. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this was clearly amplified by the vote in this august house for Constitutional Amendment no. 19, where 184 out 184 members endorsed it, and the 72 out of 72 Senators did the same. As I present my views, let me emphasize that my intention is to build, and not to destroy; unify, and not disunite. However, I will seek to challenge us as Zimbabweans by speaking frankly on the matters we are facing. Is it not that they say a problem realized is half solved? Moreover this august house is the distinguished arena of both rational disputation and robust democratic dialogue. Consequently, I will be remiss in the discharge of my duties if I did not deliver a no-holds-barred maiden speech. There will be no prisoners taken today.