Courts resume normal operations 

Blessing Masakadza


COURTS around the country yesterday resumed normal operations after months of operating at minimal capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the start of the year, the government imposed a level 4 nationwide lockdown in a bid to slow down the rate of new infections and deaths from the novel virus.

As a result of the lockdown, Chief Justice Luke Malaba issued a number of practice directions that severely affected the operations of courts across the country.

Only urgent cases such as initial remands, chamber and bail applications were being heard under the strict regulations.

This saw trials and remands being pushed to further dates as guided by the practice directions.

With President Emmerson Mnangagwa announcing new relaxed measures on Monday, court operations were also freed up with normal service being restored yesterday.

However, some accused persons failed to attend their hearings at Harare Magistrates Courts resulting in warrants of arrest being issued against former Cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira and National Social Security Authority ex-director Barnabas Matongera.

The two are facing criminal abuse of duty allegations.

This was also a similar feature in the provincial courts where some people were issued with warrants of arrest after failing to attend court.

Others managed to attend their routine remands, among them senior police officer Erasmus Makodza, who is facing criminal abuse of duty as a public officer, alternatively corruptly concealing from a principal personal interest in a transaction. His matter was then remanded to May 5.

Makodza is accused of having failed to disclose to his superiors and subordinates that he had a relationship with a woman, who entered in a farming partnership with the police at their farm in Marondera.

Bookings for marriages also resumed having been suspended during the strict lockdown period as it was deemed non-urgent.

In the latest practice direction, Malaba said solemnisation of marriages will be on condition that only the parties to the marriage and their witnesses attend.

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