Considering that this is my first post, I would rather be writing about something else, but I feel compelled to tackle the subject at hand — even though it goes against everything I am; my natural sense of optimism.

As I understand it, optimists are not oblivious to the realities of earthly existence and its bleakness. They are familiar with all shades of life, its darkness. Optimists know the darkness; they acknowledge it but they focus on the coming dawn. It may be too soon to be talking about this, even. Rarely is the question asked: Will the judge in the Zuma case be able to render a fair trial? Will the songs outside the courtroom intimidate the judge? I ask again, will the judge render a fair trial under these circumstances?

If the judge is anything like me, he will sit on his chair wearing an adult diaper mainly because of the following statement made by KwaZulu-Natal Cosatu leader Zet Luzipho: “This time there will be blood spilt in the courtroom” if Zuma goes on trial. That sounds a lot like intimidation, even if the statement was later withdrawn.

Words, unfortunately, can be troublesome; they cannot be erased once they roll off the tongue. They remain etched in memories, only to be recalled when it is convenient: “Remember when you said … ”

I wouldn’t want to be a judge in this trial, especially if the verdict ends up being “guilty”. Balls of King Kong made of stainless steel are required of this judge. Whoever he or she will be, I wish him or her balls by the truckload.

Let me point out that after Luzipho’s outburst, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven later said: “Cosatu fully supports an independent judiciary and shares the judges’ fears that it is under threat.”

“We believe, however, that they should not be criticising Cosatu, but [rather] the people who are manipulating the judicial system for their own political ends,” he also said. “The trial against Zuma is a politically motivated exercise … and he has been subjected to trial by public opinion for the past seven years.

“We have been convinced for some time that he will not get a fair trial … workers will not allow the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] and whoever is handling them to abuse its power in this matter.”

Why is Cosatu so concerned about the abuse of power? Why have the workers allowed the NPA to abuse its power in regard to Schabir Shaik since Zuma’s fate is potentially tied to his?

Thanks to what some people have said, we all know what could happen if Zuma is found guilty. We imagine it, then quickly brush those silly thoughts aside. This country is stronger than that, we tell ourselves. Our democracy can handle it, we tell ourselves. Yet deep down we are not so sure. We live in fear of what could happen. We fear its shape because we don’t know what form it will take. We fear its size because we don’t know how big or small it will be.

Will we be able to fight the Day of the Monster if it visits us? We’d hoped we’d escaped it in 1994. But that very same year Rwanda did not escape its monster. Zimbabwe is in the grips of its dragon. Kenya is wrestling its beast. What will we do if the day comes for us? Will we put it back in its cave like we did in 1994 or will we let it loose?

It all depends on what we do on the day of the verdict. If Zuma is found guilty, will we all accept it? If he is innocent, will we all accept it? All nations have a dark side; every now and then we are called upon to deal with it. What will we do when that time comes? Will we tell it to crawl back to the hole it come from or will we let it take over?

Many have made up their minds about the innocence or the guilt of a man before he has had his day in court. Perhaps those who have judged him guilty cannot see how Shaik can be guilty and Zuma innocent. For them it is as if to say the right side of one’s body is innocent and the left is guilty. It just sounds absurd.

If he is found innocent, those who said there would be no fair trial will be the first to hail our judiciary, as happened after the rape case. The problem with justice is that it is only seen to be done when it suits the victor.

It is a sad state of affairs that some people still call him a rapist even though he was acquitted. When one is pronounced innocent when one is indeed innocent, the verdict is not accepted with joy; rather with relief and anger. And for the guilty, nothing is as unfair as being found guilty when one is indeed guilty.

Let us hope that the judge who gets to try the case will not be afraid of the defendant, the ANC, the screaming hordes outside the courtroom that will be singing Umshini Wami, or those who want him to rot in jail. If Zuma is innocent, then Shaik must be innocent. Unless justice means who has the better lawyer, then justice is not just.


Khaya Dlanga

Khaya Dlanga

Khaya Dlanga* By day he perpetuates the evils of capitalism by making consumers feel insecure (he makes ads). For this he has been rewarded with numerous Loerie awards, Cannes Gold, several Eagle awards...

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