Lessons from South Africa

Image: Omar Ramadan


In South Africa the people are demanding respect

A good part of the South African people are taking to the streets to protest against the arrest of former president Zuma for contempt of a local court ruling. The demonstrations have been strong, with depredations, and what you see are very humble people on the streets. Zuma was elected following Mandela's election (the second, after Mandela).

A generation following the splendorous one that, in the 1940s and 1950s, still young, Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Suzulo and others, took over the leadership of the African National Congress, a party founded at the beginning of the 27th century. They took the party to the streets, demonstrations, courts, where they shone like young lawyers, Mandela at the head. They were prosecuted by the local judiciary and spent XNUMX years in prison.

They returned in a revolutionary process that restored the rights of black South Africans, implanted democracy and brought Mandela to the Presidency. Zuma was elected in this revolutionary sequence. Now, Zuma is being sued by the local judiciary on the allegation of corruption and is being held in contempt.

Recent history is already full of such cases. They did the same with Lula, Rafael Correa, in Ecuador, Cristina Krishner, in Argentina. In Bolivia, they even revoked the mandate of Evo Morales, who had to go into exile.

The people of South Africa are asking for their vote to be respected. When they vote and elect, the people are judging the person, with more strength and power than any judge.

Not that, after being elected, they are licensed to do fraud, or that the people do not make a mistake and elect liars, deceivers and false representatives.

But when that happens, there must be special procedures, with properly prepared and high-level courts, with legitimacy to break the popular investiture that the elected person received, even after the exercise of the mandate.

The South African people are saying, “Hail! Zuma was made president with my vote, my judgment, we made him Mandela's successor, it's not any judge or court or ordinary process that's going to undo that."

Even if he made mistakes, Zuma cannot be prosecuted in common process, as a former president. Incidentally, one cannot forget that, at Fidel Castro's funeral, Zuma gave the best speech: "Fidel was the only one from the West who went to Africa to help us, not to exploit our riches."

The popular investiture is the highest moment of the Republic. It is taught in Constitutional Law Faculties that the President of the Republic is the number one judge in the country. He cannot be prosecuted as a common accused, even when he makes mistakes.

It is worth remembering here the case of Lula. Judge Moro asked him more than a hundred questions, trying to put him down. Afterwards, in another hearing, the judge reprimanded Lula for having criticized the previous judge. She said that she could not allow someone to criticize a colleague and that Lula could get hurt. And we know how the case ended recently: the idolized colleague was proclaimed suspect and biased by the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

The Brazilian Republic has already provided a reasonable solution. In the Brazilian constitutional tradition, those elected, holders of popular investiture, could only be processed and judged by special courts. The President of the Republic, by the Supreme Court.

There are countries that offer better solutions, but it was already reasonable. It even worked at the other end: whoever committed fraud would be faced by a stronger court. But a recent intense media campaign called this a “privileged forum”. And the Federal Supreme Court created a constitutional norm, stating that only during the exercise of the mandate would the elect be judged by a special court. No Constitution foresaw this, no court dared to insert this norm in the Constitution.

The Judiciary always follows the media, especially today's STF, and the media follows the economic groups, and the elites always calling the shots.

It was not by chance that, with a clear political purpose and method, Shakespeare would say, they soon took Lula to a judge in Curitiba (today he works in a company in Washington, linked to the CIA? – for sure, they say), who had nothing to do with none of the stories, nothing had happened in Paraná.

In South Africa the people are demanding respect. In Bolivia and Argentina they have already given the change in the elections. The Brazilian people are walking in the same direction. The prestige that the Brazilian already confers on Lula is the great answer now.

* Vivaldo Barbosa he was constituent federal deputy and secretary of Justice in the Leonel Brizola government, in RJ. He is a lawyer and retired professor at UNIRIO.

Originally published on the website Viomundo.


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