Justice delayed is justice denied

2017-08-20 06:17
Dumisane Lubisi

Dumisane Lubisi

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The year is 2021 (it could be earlier).

It has been four years since Gabriella Engels was allegedly assaulted by Grace Mugabe at a Sandton hotel.

The Constitutional Court has just handed down judgment, after several court judgments and appeals in the lower courts, that the decision to grant Mugabe diplomatic immunity for the alleged assault committed in 2017 was irrational and that there was no basis for government to make such a decision.

The court further states that Mugabe, who may or may not have been in the country for any government-to-government work, but in her private capacity, should be hauled before the courts to answer to the charges Engels brought.

By then, Mugabe could have taken over from her husband, Robert, as president of Zimbabwe, judging by her ambitions and the nature of Zanu-PF politics.

Her accuser, Engels, now 24, could still be a model, or her career could have taken a nosedive because of the scar on her face, as was seen on pictures circulating on social media.

Back to today.

It has been seven days since the alleged attack happened.

Mugabe has not had her day in court to answer to the serious charge of assault.

Engels, on the other hand, is still waiting, just like any victim of crime, to see her alleged attacker being brought to account.

In the days after the alleged incident, we heard different stories from law enforcement agencies about Mugabe appearing in court.

None of these stories turned out to be true and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula was left with egg on his face after declaring that Mugabe was to appear in court last Tuesday.

However, this never happened. Mbalula and government now faced a new conundrum.

Mugabe’s lawyers indicated that she would invoke diplomatic immunity, which would ensure that she was not prosecuted for the alleged crime.

Her husband jetted into the country for the SADC Summit, days earlier than scheduled, to try to salvage the diplomatic nightmare.

On the other hand, Engels is waiting for justice to be seen to be done.

Enter AfriForum, which has promised to pursue the matter through private prosecution, should Mugabe be granted diplomatic immunity.

The longer the matter drags on (which it probably will), the more Engels will ask herself why her alleged perpetrator was not brought to book.

Justice delayed is indeed justice denied. Not only for Engels, but for the many people who feel that the laws of the country are applied differently when the accused are the connected and powerful.

All this could end now, if only Mugabe would abandon her application to invoke diplomatic immunity and defend herself in court.

After all, she intends to be a resident of South Africa, judging by the purchase of a R45 million home in Sandhurst.

Follow me on Twitter @DumisaneLubisi

Read more on:    grace mugabe  |  gabriella engels  |  afriforum

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