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Zimbabwe Supreme Court Chief Chastises Executive for Interfering with Judiciary

  • Thomas Chiripasi
  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Analysts saw the broadside as a veiled reference to disputes between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe over implementation of their power-sharing arrangement

The senior justice on the Zimbabwean Supreme Court on Monday launched a scathing attack on the executive branch which he said was meddling in the justice system.

Officially opening the 2011 legal year in Harare, Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku accused government leaders of interfering in the administration of justice. He said he was disturbed by what he called a growing trend by politicians.

Without giving epecific examples, Chidyausiku said such interference was affecting the independence of the judiciary. He added that some judges and magistrates were now finding it difficult to execute their duties due to the level of interference.

Chidyausiku also criticized Parliament and some legal practitioners for debating cases that were before the courts, saying it was unlawful to comment on such cases.

He also fired a broadside at political parties for taking internal political disputes to the courts, saying such matters should be resolved at a political level.

Analysts saw the attack as a veiled reference to disputes between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe over implementation of their power-sharing arrangement.

Mr. Tsvangirai took Mr. Mugabe to court recently seeking redress over alleged violations of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing by President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. That case has yet to be heard.

Deploring the poor level of remuneration for those working in the court system, Chidyausiku called on the judiciary to set up an independent trust to collect funds from willing parties without influencing cases.

He added that most magistrates do not have computers, which slows down the delivery of justice as magistrates must write judgements by hand.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Chidyausiku's broadside against members of the executive was commendable, adding senior government officials should allow the justice system to function.

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