Is politics contaminating the Law Society of Zimbabwe?

by | May 3, 2021 | Local News, Politics | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

To the ordinary man on the street, the Law Society of Zimbabwe is the mother representative body under which all registered Legal Practitioners in Zimbabwe are registered and regulated.

The organisation was founded in 1981, to replace the Bar Association as the regulatory body for the legal practice in Zimbabwe.

World over, lawyers are officers of the Court, to which they are critical partners for the delivery of justice.

It is therefore expected that, for purposes of integrity and reputation preservation, lawyers are to behave is such a manner worthy of respect.
For the integrity of the judiciary, all disputes, discomforts or misgivings should be dealt with through legal procedures which are well defined under court rules.

A historical background
On 29 January 2019, lawyers under the banner of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, took to the streets demonstrating against what they called deterioration of rule of law and human rights.
Under normal circumstances, such cases are dealt with within legal confines.
Naturally lawyers are expected to lead legal recourse in court.

Dear reader, here is a whole umbrella body representing all legal practitioners in Zimbabwe, some of whom are potential judges, prosecutors and commissioners, and some who are wholly apolitical.

As the lawyers delivered a petition to Chief Justice Luke Malaba on that day, a statement issued by a representative of the lawyers is telling.
Guess who the lawyers’ representative was?
Yes you could have guessed right.
Ms Fadzai Mahere, now MDC-Alliance`s spokesperson delivered a speech on behalf of the protesting lawyers of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
“Lawyers are marching in support of human rights and restoration of Constitutional freedoms. And we do not want the military on the streets nor in civilian life. Or in the courts. It is a march in support of fair trial,” said Mahere.

Considerable danger arises when a representative of legal practitioners forgets that she is not speaking for her preferred political party, nor her preferred political leader in that sermon.

Now consider what the opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had to say in corroboration.
Here is Mr Chamisa’s statement soon after the lawyers’ demonstration.

“So apart from raising the issue with SADC, we want this issue to be addressed in the context of the international community helping us. These are clear cases of unleashing our military on unarmed civilians. Citizens are defenceless and obviously what we want is the intervention of the international community to help us in any manner possible (this includes direct military action) to protect citizens so that there is the restoration of civilian authority in the country”, said Chamisa.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this is a clear conflation between the Law Society of Zimbabwe and the MDC Alliance party.

In any case let us consider these individuals here, who are all active members of the two organisations.

There is no doubt that two statement were picked from the same script, with a deliberate intention to amplify their message to intended audiences outside government

How does one separate Job Sikhala, Tendai Biti, Fadzai Mahere, Nelson Chamisa, Thabani Mpofu, and Welshman Ncube from the MDC and tie them to the Law Society of Zimbabwe, or the other way round?

So this is a clear case of conflict of interest and an elevated degree of hypocrisy.

This is the same group that runs the MDC Alliance, yet they purport to represent the interests of all lawyers, including some innocent apolitical legal practitioners.

These are the same lawyers that run and control the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an organisation that is supposed to be impartial and apolitical.

An organisation that should offer legal representation and advice to all citizens regardless of political affiliation.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe, of course convened this protest in support of MDC Alliance supporters who had been arrested for the well coordinated 14 January 2019 violent protests which almost got the security forces overwhelmed through burning of police stations and public and private properties, and spontaneous acts of violent provocations.

This betrays a dangerous conflict of interest by the representative body for the legal profession.
So the question that remains to be answered is; Is it about the delivery of justice or protection of the cash cow?

The same known funders, with vested interests in the political discourse of the country, are the same that control the political economy of such supposed neutral organisations as the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that the one who funds these organisations and subsequently the personalities behind them are the ones that seek to control the narrative out of Zimbabwe.

These sub-organisations that include MDC Alliance, Law Society of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights, just to name but a few, act in concert, in a well-choreographed manner, to bring about a narrative that focuses negative international limelight on Zimbabwe, to the perpetuation of negative publicity.

We have all seen how the Law Society of Zimbabwe has been used as or has transformed into a political activist organisation.

The glaring reality is that the organisation has become an active tool for the defence of opposition activists and to some extent anti-state actors.
This protest by lawyers, just like others I will document here later, represent a dangerous precedent in a manner that betrays a deliberate conflation of a political party with a representative body of the legal profession.

A challenge arises when learned lawyers abandon the established norms of seeking redress for any matters in courts of law, only to embrace the streets as the new arena for a redress of conflict or misgivings.

When ordinary citizens take to the streets to demonstrate or to protest against any form of excesses or shortcomings, they look up to legal practitioners to take up their cases to the learned bench for redress.

It then becomes paradoxical to see the same lawyers and judges abandoning their posts as officers of court, to join hands with protestors on the streets.

Dear reader, part of the mandate of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, as the umbrella representative of practising lawyers, is to defend rule of law and human rights.

But how can one defend rule of law while waving banners with political messages on the streets?
How does one defend rule of law by resorting to breaking the same laws on the street?

How can the Law Society of Zimbabwe be respected as an impartial arbiters and protector of civil liberties when they are constantly found on the streets shouting and mimicking political messages?

I am fully convinced that it’s not too late for the Law Society of Zimbabwe to separate themselves from partisan political organisations and actors and re-establish themselves as a truly professional representative body.

Otherwise a discredited Law Society of Zimbabwe will deal unprecedented harm to the reputation of its membership.

Otherwise, when all has been considered, a new uncorrupted representative body for the legal profession will be long overdue.


In other words this is a challenge to the Law Society of Zimbabwe to prove that the actions of these conflicted individuals do not represent the position of the Society. Conflicted elements have taken control of the Society and they risk dragging the good name of the society into the mud.