BULAWAYO – Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said Zimbabwe must immediately initiate reforms in the judiciary in order to successfully tackle corruption.
In his speech during the official opening of the 2017 legal year, Malaba said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was committed to nipping corruption in the bud.
“A corrupt judiciary cannot claim to be totally independent and impartial,” he said.
“A corrupt judiciary is a hindrance to an effective justice delivery system and ultimately access to justice therefore becomes critical to walk the talk in the fight against corruption by putting in place concrete and recognisable measures to address the ills associated with corruption,” Malaba added.
The deputy chief justice said the fight against corruption demands shared commitments among stakeholders to eliminate it from the halls of justice.
This comes amid concern that judges, aided by disreputable lawyers, have been bending justice, granting frivolous injunctions, allowing unmeritorious appeals and simply giving official thieves mere slap on their wrists to keep their share of the loot orchestrated by thieving politicians, with some presiding over cases of improprieties.
The JSC together with key stakeholders in the justice delivery system, including the Justice ministry, National Prosecuting Authority, the Attorney General’s office, Law Society of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in February last year joined hands to speak with one voice against corruption through the launch of the Against Corruption Together (ACT) campaign.
Under the campaign, the stakeholders agreed to streamline the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of criminal cases involving corruption.
Malaba noted that a protocol on the management of criminal cases involving corruption is being developed by JSC to guide the management of such cases.
Meanwhile, Malaba heaped praise on the bench here for what he termed dedication to duty.
The disposition of criminal cases was clearly pleasing at 99 percent, he said.
“It is because of the dedication to duty by the six judges with the cooperation of the legal profession and the staff under the able leadership of senior judge justice Bere that I am able to report to you the positive results,” he said.
The statement by Malaba is seen as a move to atone for his recent statements where he slammed the judges here for what he said was their failure to understand the law.
This, however, did not go down well with judges who immediately wrote a letter of complaint to the JSC registering their displeasure.