Judiciary not captured, says Ziyambi


Tendai Kamhungira

JUSTICE minister Ziyambi Ziyambi says the judiciary is not captured as alleged by the country’s main opposition party, the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, and civic organisations that claim it plays to the whims of the government, the Daily News reports.

Speaking yesterday during a Judicial Service Commission (JSC)-organised event to mark the official separation of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, Ziyambi said claims of judiciary capture were “preposterous”.

“The independence exhibited by the judiciary of Zimbabwe is a source of pride for the government of Zimbabwe. There are countless instances when private citizens and private institutions have taken government or government institutions to every level of the court system.

“The courts in adherence to the concept of the rule of law have determined such disputes and in many instances have ruled against the government or government-controlled institutions.

“To seek to cast aspersions on the judiciary and accusing the courts of lacking independence on the basis of a few cases, where the courts have ruled in favour of the government, is in government’s view preposterous.

“To suggest that government must lose every case in which it is a party in order to show that the judiciary is independent is equally outrageous.

“To further accuse the courts of being captured because you have lost a case, but keep quiet when you have won is simply being disingenuous, that perverted understanding of judicial independence must never be allowed, because if it were, there would be no need for the courts to adjudicate in disputes involving government. The existence of these cases is living testimony that both the rule of law and judicial independence are alive in Zimbabwe,” Ziyambi said.

The separation of the Supreme and Constitutional courts was in line with the country’s Constitution, which came into force in 2013. All along Supreme Court judges were doubling as Constitutional Court judges.

Speaking at the same event, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, said prior to the separation of the two courts, the Supreme Court comprised the Chief Justice, his deputy and 13 other judges.

According to Malaba, the Constitutional Court, which is the highest court in the land, would now comprise the Chief Justice, his deputy and five other judges.

“Following the appointment of acting judges of the Constitutional Court, it may also become necessary to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court. The appointments will be done in due course in accordance with the Constitution,” Malaba said.

He said the Constitutional Court would continue operating from Mashonganyika Building, while the Supreme Court will be housed at the Supreme Court building between Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah avenues.

The event was attended by Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi, Attorney General Prince Machaya and Law Society of Zimbabwe president Thandazani Masiye-Moyo, among others.

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