Chi­wenga opens new Mutare High Court

The Manica Post - - New Mutare High Court -

WE PUB­LISH HERE AN AD­DRESS BY ACT­ING PRES­I­DENT HIS EXCELLENCY GEN­ERAL CON­STANTINO CHI­WENGA (RE­TIRED), ON THE OC­CA­SION OF THE OF­FI­CIAL OPEN­ING OF THE PER­MA­NENT HIGH COURT STA­TION. MUTARE, 7TH MAY 2018

IT is my great plea­sure and hon­our to of­fi­ci­ate at this his­toric oc­ca­sion in the de­vel­op­ment of mech­a­nisms to en­hance the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in our great coun­try. This of­fi­cial open­ing of the Per­ma­nent High Court sta­tion in Mutare, is a mile­stone achieve­ment as it cas­cades Gov­ern­ment func­tions and ad­min­is­tra­tive roles. I ap­plaud the de­ci­sion by the Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion to make jus­tice more ac­ces­si­ble to the peo­ple, by de­cen­tral­is­ing its op­er­a­tions to the prov­inces.

My Gov­ern­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to the rule of law and is aware that it is an in­dis­pens­able as a means of gov­er­nance. If the rule of law pre­vails, then the coun­try ben­e­fits, if it fails, the coun­try suf­fers.

Fur­ther­more, when the rule of law is val­ued and thrives, a na­tion is sta­ble and its peo­ple are con­tent; when, how­ever, it is ne­glected and weak, a coun­try will fall into tur­moil and its peo­ple be­come dis­con­tent.

I, thus ex­hort all or­gans of the state, se­cu­rity forces, po­lit­i­cal par­ties, so­cial groups and pri­vate en­ter­prises to treat the con­sti­tu­tion as the fun­da­men­tal code of their ac­tiv­i­ties. We all have a duty to up­hold and jeal­ously safe­guard the sanc­tity of the Con­sti­tu­tion. No or­gan­i­sa­tion or in­di­vid­ual has the right to abuse the Con­sti­tu­tion or the law.

We must there­fore all work tire­lessly to en­sure that the Con­sti­tu­tion is ad­hered to and that its full im­ple­men­ta­tion is raised to higher stan­dards. I am glad there­fore that the Min­istry of Jus­tice, Le­gal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs and its part­ners con­tinue their ef­forts to trans­late the Con­sti­tu­tion into sev­eral ver­nac­u­lar lan­guages. I urge those re­spon­si­ble for the pro­cesses to ex­pe­dite com­ple­tion of this vi­tal work, to en­able as many of our peo­ple as pos­si­ble, to fully ap­pre­ci­ate their rights as en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion. Distin­guished Guests,

I am ad­vised that the court­house we are com­mis­sion­ing to­day is one of the best in the re­gion. The ar­chi­tec­tural de­signs, en­gi­neer­ing, con­struc­tion, build­ing ma­te­rial, and all the fur­ni­ture were all lo­cally man­u­fac­tured. This is in line with the coun­try’s Buy Lo­cal Ini­tia­tive and is a clear tes­ti­mony that Zimbabwe has highly skilled and pro­fes­sional hu­man re­sources, whose tal­ent has not been tapped in favour of for­eign hu­man re­sources, which must stop forth­with to give our young pro­fes­sion­als a chance to ex­er­cise their skills.

In the same vein, the es­tab­lish­ment of this Per­ma­nent High Court Sta­tion is a sup­port­ing tool in Gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies, such as the ease of do­ing busi­ness ini­tia­tive and the in­crease in For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment into the coun­try. It bears a tes­ti­mony not only to our com­mit­ment to open up the coun­try for in­vest­ment, but to also in­crease the pro­duc­tion and trad­ing ca­pac­i­ties of lo­cal in­dus­try.

Busi­ness must draw con­fi­dence from the courts, which are now read­ily ac­ces­si­ble to a wider pop­u­lace in the coun­try. Equally, busi­ness de­rives con­fi­dence from the courts which deal with cases promptly and not de­lay­ing in pro­nounc­ing their de­ci­sions.

The courts must pro­tect pro­pri­etary in­ter­ests of ev­ery­one in Zimbabwe, in­clud­ing ju­ris­tic per­sons. With world class in­sti­tu­tions like this new High Court, Zimbabwe has no hes­i­ta­tion in invit­ing those in­ter­ested, to in­vest in the coun­try. It is fur­ther proof of the fact that, ev­ery­one can, in this new Zimbabwe, trust us with their in­vest­ments.

I, there­fore, ex­hort the Hon­ourable Chief Jus­tice, to es­tab­lish with ur­gency the per­ma­nent High Court sta­tions in other pro­vin­cial cen­tres such as Gweru, Lu­pane and Gwanda.

Fur­ther­more, my Gov­ern­ment has ini­ti­ated a leg­isla­tive and ad­min­is­tra­tive mech­a­nism to ease the way of do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try which will see the re­moval of all bot­tle­necks and bu­reau­cratic bar­ri­ers which frus­trate in­vestors.

These in­clude leg­is­la­tion pro­vid­ing for the des­ig­na­tion of ev­ery mag­is­trate’s court as a com­mer­cial court, the es­tab­lish­ment of small claims courts at ev­ery mag­is­te­rial sta­tion and the cre­ation of com­mer­cial and other spe­cialised di­vi­sions of the High Court. I ex­hort the Com­mer­cial Rent Board to ex­pe­dite all is­sues re­gard­ing com­mer­cial rental dis­putes to com­pli­ment the ef­forts of the courts. Ladies and Gen­tle­men;

We must thwart cor­rup­tion at all costs. The des­ig­na­tion of the courts is a sig­nif­i­cant step ahead in this fight. I wish to re­it­er­ate that there are no sa­cred cows in this bat­tle. All of us must build on the ini­tial suc­cesses we have al­ready scored, in or­der to achieve more.

In that re­gard, my Gov­ern­ment through rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers in the jus­tice de­liv­ery sec­tor has set up spe­cialised anti-cor­rup­tion mag­is­trates’ courts to fight against cor­rup­tion. It equally in­tends to es­tab­lish anti cor­rup­tion courts, at the level of the High Court, to root out this scourge. The Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion should there­fore im­ple­ment the nec­es­sary steps to en­sure that the spe­cial­ist anti-cor­rup­tion courts achieve the ob­jec­tives of which they were set. Distin­guished Guests,

The le­git­i­macy of the courts is de­rived from the peo­ple of Zimbabwe through lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns and ad­dress­ing the pre­sented is­sues based on facts. I am im­pressed by the pres­ence of tra­di­tional and po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship of Man­i­ca­land which is a sign of com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and sup­port for this project. There­fore, this High Court sym­bol­ises our as­pi­ra­tions for af­ford­able, sim­ple and ac­ces­si­ble jus­tice.

The courts should not be re­garded as an in­sti­tu­tion for pun­ish­ment, but a means of dis­pute res­o­lu­tion open to the cit­i­zenry, and meant to re­store peace amongst peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions in dis­agree­ment.

Gov­ern­ment is aware that some peo­ple can­not af­ford to hire le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of their own and is there­fore seized with the need to re­sus­ci­tate the in forma pau­peris sys­tem, in civil cases, and pro deo le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, for those ac­cused of crim­i­nal of­fences as pro­vided for by the Con­sti­tu­tion when it speaks on the right to a fair trial for ev­ery­one.

Ladies and Gen­tle­men;

I ac­knowl­edge the unity of pur­pose and col­lab­o­ra­tion demon­strated by the Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing, the Min­istry of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, the of­fice of the Min­is­ter of State for Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs for Man­i­ca­land, and all other pri­vate en­ti­ties which par­tic­i­pated in the ren­o­va­tion and cus­tomi­sa­tion of this court­house which used to be a cin­ema house. This col­lab­o­ra­tion demon­strates what a coun­try can achieve, if we put our minds to­gether. It fur­ther proves that, en­hanc­ing ac­cess to jus­tice is not the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion alone. The pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions must utilise the scarce re­sources for the de­vel­op­ment of our coun­try.

Al­low me to thank all the Hon­ourable Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, and the tra­di­tional lead­er­ship from this prov­ince for their con­tri­bu­tion to the es­tab­lish­ment of this court which en­hances the de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion of the jus­tice de­liv­ery sys­tem.

Your con­tri­bu­tion to the es­tab­lish­ment of this court should not be over­looked, for it is you who con­vinced us on the need for the de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion pol­icy in the jus­tice de­liv­ery sys­tem. As rep­re­sen­ta­tives and lead­ers of the peo­ple, you knew their needs. Tra­di­tional lead­er­ship is part of the ju­di­cial sys­tem, and the es­tab­lish­ment of the High Court Sta­tion is meant to com­ple­ment the courts, and not sup­plant them.

I ex­hort High Court to clear back­logs and ex­pe­dite the le­gal cases such as those re­lat­ing to mur­der and di­vorce, for jus­tice de­layed is jus­tice de­nied. We must make sure jus­tice de­liv­ered all in good time and not keep peo­ple in re­mand prison longer than nec­es­sary, we have cases that have not been heard for a long time be­cause of back­logs, please clear these cases for the new Zimbabwe be­lieves in timeous jus­tice, and ser­vice de­liv­ery. Distin­guished Guests;

This High Court Sta­tion is be­ing opened at a very op­por­tune mo­ment, when Zimbabwe will hold Har­monised Gen­eral Elec­tions. I want to as­sure you that my ad­min­is­tra­tion is ready to de­liver a free, air and cred­i­ble elec­tion. Be that as it may, in terms of the law, the Elec­toral Court is a spe­cialised divi­sion of the High Court.

Its op­er­a­tions are key to the cred­i­bil­ity of elec­tions. The Elec­toral Act also pro­vides for our in­sti­tu­tions, such as the Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (JSC), the Zimbabwe Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (ZHRC), the Zimbabwe Repub­lic Po­lice (ZRP), and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) to des­ig­nate of­fi­cials who are ded­i­cated to deal­ing with po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and in­tim­i­da­tion.

In this re­gard I ap­peal to ev­ery Zim­bab­wean to shun vi­o­lence and preach the gospel of peace, unity, tol­er­ance, love and un­der­stand­ing through­out the coun­try. We have in­vited ob­servers from across the globe to wit­ness our elec­tion. I call upon all Zim­bab­weans to show them our warm hos­pi­tal­ity and demon­strate that our democ­racy has ma­tured and come of age. Ladies and Gen­tle­men;

Fi­nally al­low me to ac­knowl­edge the roles of the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity, the Zimbabwe Repub­lic Po­lice, the Zimbabwe Pris­ons and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices, the Law So­ci­ety of Zimbabwe and other civic or­gan­i­sa­tions, who are all ac­tive and com­ple­men­tary play­ers in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice.

Fur­ther­more, ac­cess to jus­tice, means much more ac­cess to a court–house, as it en­com­passes all pro­cesses, and in­sti­tu­tions which pro­mote the ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice. You are all part of that chain, and none of you must be a weak link.

With these re­marks, it is now my priv­i­lege and hon­our to de­clare the Per­ma­nent High Court sta­tion in Mutare of­fi­cially opened.

God Bless Zimbabwe,

I thank you!

This pic­ture col­lage shows scenes at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the New High Court in Mutare

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