Foreign countries are, well, they’re foreign, as we understand with this story from Zimbabwe. The current Vice President, Kembo Mohadi, has apparently turned up at his ex-wife’s house – Senator Mohadi that is – brandishing an axe, chopping through doors and then making off with the cars awarded to her by the courts. How unlike the home life of our own dear Queen this is.
Of course, it’s easy to mock and who hasn’t been enraged by an ex- at some point? But there’s a rather more important point behind this which speaks to how Zimbabwe has changed, or hasn’t. Police are being a bit cagey about what happened, the Senator insists they just stood around and watched. And, well, does political position, like being the VP, mean you’re subject to the law or not?
VICE-PRESIDENT Kembo Mohadi yesterday allegedly attacked his estranged former wife using an axe to break doors and threatened to shoot her in a dispute over property. The enraged VP raided senator Tambudzani Mohadi’s Beitbridge home and grabbed three vehicles in full view of about 25 local police officers and his aides. Mohadi allegedly poked senator Mohadi with a deformed steel bar and threatened to kill her. However, later after fatigue apparently set in, retired to as chair after the hive of activity sapped his energy, according to some police officers who witnessed the incident.
The enragement, sure, bad stuff. But it’s the next bit which matters:
The officer commanding Beitbridge police district chief superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said he was not aware of the alleged attack since he was away in Chivhu. “I am off, I don’t know anything, I am in Chivhu,” Nyongo said when contacted for a comment. The officer-in-charge of Beitbridge police Chief Inspector Kenneth Mushongahande did not respond to calls on his mobile phone. But, a weary-looking Senator Mohadi confirmed the incident and said she did not know where to report. She did how to get to the police station after the VP left her grounded without a single vehicle. “I have just spoken to the Dispol [Nyongo] and he expects me to walk to Beitbridge police. My dignity has been heavily battered,” she said. “The police said I must go and report, but they were witnesses to what happened. They saw him commit this crime. “He said he is a law unto himself. He was doing this on my defenceless person. I did not react. Police did not stop him. “He went on accusing me of refusing with keys and he broke the doors. He did that while police stood and watched.”
The Mugabe years have taught us all that the rule of law is vital. Without that nothing else can be done. So, does the VP get a pass because he’s the VP? Or do we see a bit more investigation of what looks rather like a domestic assault?
Further, if those cars had been awarded to her – as she claims – by the courts, then that rule of law does say that he can’t come and take them away again. Again, the Mugabe years have rather taught us that extrajudicial seizure of property by the politically connected doesn’t work out well.
Yes, obviously, it’s not a massive case – but what happens next will tell us rather a lot about how Zimbabwe has changed or not. If I were an investor thinking about Zimbabwe as a destination I’d be looking at this to see what does happen about property rights. If the VP can just take cars with an axe then what of mine might the political class be able to take?