Abide by Constitution, Acting President rallies Judiciary

THE Government has called on judicial officers to be exemplary and strictly abide by the Constitution in their conduct amid a worrying rise of tribunals being set up to investigate officers’ suitability for office.

Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga made the call when he spoke at the Chief Justice’s dinner held as part of activities to mark the commencement of the legal year. This year’s legal year will also mark the 10th anniversary of the new Constitution.

Acting President Chiwenga spelt out the Government’s expectations, which he said were anchored on retaining the Judiciary’s sanctity and independence but in collaboration with other stakeholders.

These key stakeholders, said the Acting President,  included the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the police, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service,  the National Prosecuting Authority and the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

“Therefore, considering these strategic priorities which complement Government’s development trajectory, it is evident that the Judiciary cannot exist and operate in complete isolation,” said Acting President Chiwenga.

“It requires the support of other arms of the State, particularly if it is to achieve the stated goal of entrenching constitutionalism.

“It holds not just for the Judiciary but for every arm of the State. There is a need for effective collaboration between arms of State while still respecting the individual spheres of each one of them.

“Having said this, I take this occasion to remind Honourable Judges and judicial officers here present that they also bear the individual responsibility to adhere to the demands of the Constitution.

“It is unfortunate to note that in the recent past several tribunals have been convened to inquire into serious allegations of misconduct by members of the bench.

“As the old adage goes, if gold rusts, what will iron do? Unlike the average person, the integrity and moral compass of a judge must be beyond reproach.

“He or she must adhere to the principles enshrined in terms of sections 164 and 165 of the Constitution. By fashioning both your professional and personal conduct in line with the Constitution, you give life to the aspiration of the institution of the Judiciary to entrench constitutionalism,” said Acting President Chiwenga.

Various members the Judiciary and JSC employees received long service awards.

“The conferment of long service awards is aimed at not only recognising long-tenured members of staff, but also those who have behaved and conducted themselves in a manner that is exemplary and consistent with the values and ethos of the organisation.

“It would be impossible to host today’s ceremony if the identified recipients of the awards had conducted themselves in a manner that undermined the purpose of their respective offices, and had led to their discharge from the judicial service,” said Acting President Chiwenga.

In his remarks Chief Justice Malaba said: “We are gathered here to express our appreciation and gratitude for the contributions of different Government institutions and departments in cooperating and collaborating with the JSC in the administration of justice.

“Justice is important for all people. It must be dispensed timeously, fairly and effectively. The quality of the justice we deliver can only be seen in the confidence that people have in the justice system, our provision of appropriate resources by which people can pursue justice such as courthouses, and the support given to the persons working in the justice sector.”

To achieve these goals there had to be effective collaboration between all stakeholders, including the police and the prosecuting authorities, judges and magistrates, judicial administrators, Government ministries and development partners.

“Significantly, the JSC highly values the support it receives from its collaborating partners. The reason for this is that although the JSC has the primary responsibility for ensuring that justice is delivered, it cannot effectively dispense this constitutional obligation without the cooperation of its stakeholders.

“Justice is an important concern for everyone. No one wants or deserves to be treated unfairly. It is therefore only proper that every person involved in ensuring that there is fairness and justice in our society be appreciated, as we do on this occasion,” said Chief Justice Malaba.


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