A South African court has ruled that the country’s former President Jacob Zuma should be returned to prison, saying his medical parole was “unlawful”.
During the ruling, High Court Judge Elias Matojane said that the time he has spent out of prison should not be counted in his 15-month sentence.
Zuma was released on 5 September for an undisclosed medical condition. He had been jailed for failing to attend an inquiry into corruption during his presidency.
Immediately after the ruling, Zuma’s lawyers had filed a motion to appeal. The move means that Zuma will not return to prison until the appeal is heard. The lawyers stated that the court’s decision “amounts to cruel and degrading punishment with no due regard to the patient’s healthcare, dignity and other human rights.”
Zuma, 79, was jailed in July for 15 months for contempt of court, after he refused to give testimony to corruption investigators. His jailing sparked violent protests and looting in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal that spread to the financial hub Johannesburg in July, claiming over 350 lives.
In addition to the investigation by a special anti-corruption panel, Zuma is also entangled in a drawn-out corruption trial relating to a 1999 purchase of arms from five European firms. Also, while he was deputy president, Zuma is accused of pocketing bribes from French defence giant Thales and faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering.
Regardless of the unrest cased by citizens over Zuma’s arrest, the South Africa’s government upheld that the rule of law must be adhered to, despite of the status quo of the individual under investigation. The S.A Court has applied constitutional law to the facts before them, putting aside political popularity and favoritism and this should be emulated by the whole world.
Kenya can also learn from Zuma’s case and arrest that every person is equal before the law and leaders in our country must proceed with integrity in their public service.