By Reason Wafawarova| There are a number of interesting pointers and talking points about the Gold Smuggling Case involving Henrietta Rushwaya.
The case itself looks ridiculously criminal. No one exports 6 kgs of gold in a hand luggage handbag through regular airline checking points with no export paper trail to show for it, and then goes to court to declare innocence and a desperation to have a hearing to clear their name.
Then there is the implication of one Ali Muhammed as the owner of the gold in question and the deal, and another implication of an unnamed would be recipient in Dubai.
Then there is the implication of two security agents as accomplices to Rushwaya, with one Tserai being a known aide of the President, and also of the First Lady.
Then another person is arrested for allegedly trying to secure the release of Rushwaya by pretending to be a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation and also making claims that the gold in question belonged to the First Lady and her son Collins.
Then the Chief Secretary issues a statement warning “impersonators” to stop the “name dropping” habit where the name of the President or that of his wife or children have been used to act above the law, or to secure impunity.
Then we have the First Lady issuing a statement absolving herself from the gold smuggling case, and impliedly threatening the individual who named her and her son.
In the same statement the First Lady “challenges” the police to issue a public statement either incriminating her or absolving her.
In fact she dares the police to say something public about her and her son, reminding us of how much of a law abiding and transparent citizen she is, totally driven by the philanthropic passion to serve our underprivileged people across the country, and therefore far too busy doing great things for us that she has absolutely no time for petty crimes like smuggling just 6 kilograms of gold.
Here are pertinent questions that needy a speedy answer.
1. On what basis is it assumed the person who implicated the First Lady was fabricating his story?
2. We have not heard that the implicated First Lady and her son Collins have been interviewed by either the investigating officers or the fourth state, the media; or by any other independent persons, or ZACC, or Parliament. Why is that?
3. Is it not part of transparency for these two to be interviewed in the public interest?
4. We are told Collins denied the allegations to his friends. Wouldn’t it be better for him to volunteer his side of the story to the investigators?
5. Being implicated in the case, the First Lady becomes a suspect, or at the very least a person of interest or candidate for questioning.
As such does she hold any locus standi to suggest what the police must do in the course of investigations of this case?
Does she have the moral ground to help the police determine the facts in a case where she is implicated?
Does this amount to interference with the course of justice, or intimidating the institution of policing to influence the outcome of an investigation?
6. Does the ZRP issue public statements on criminal matters at the instigation of subjects of their investigations?
7. This matter is already before the courts, with the implicator charged to face trial. Is it not subjudice to make comments on the matter in regards to what investigators aught to do?
8. What does the President have to say about the internet picture trail that shows him with two of the accused 5, excluding Tserai his aide?
9. The First Lady absolves her adult son as innocent because she says, “He is hardworking.” Do parents declare the innocence of their adult children leading independent lives when they get implicated in alleged criminal matters?
10. Can the comments from the First Lady be misconstrued or construed to suggest shielding her son from possible arrest or questioning?
I am asking these questions not because I believe the First Lady tried to smuggle gold out of the country, nor because I believe she didn’t.
I am asking purely based on due process and the principle that says justice must be seen to be done, especially where high profile personalities are implicated or accused.
I do hope that the police will stand firm on their constitutional oath, and also that those suspected or charged will receive fair treatment and a fair trial where one will occur.