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Is Zimbabwe's process of appointing judge right or wrong?

by Njabulo
11 May 2017 at 07:06hrs | Views
Dear editor,

The current constitution of Zimbabwe (which is entrenched) gives the President of Zimbabwe the prerogative to appoint the top judges. However, it is enshrined in international law that the judiciary should be free from politics. That is, it should be an autonomous entity.

There is subjectivity in the whole process of appointing of top judges in Zimbabwe (currently) because many people view the justice system of Zimbabwe as not being autonomous. They view it as not impartial in discharging its duties as a result of the appointment procedure which is embodied in the current Zimbabwe constitution (nothing wrong as the constitution is the rule of law of all states).

The furore by others is that there is bound to be biased in handling cases by the courts. For example, if the appointed judges are dealing with cases that involve treason allegations, there is a possibility that the judge adjudicating might rule in favour of the government. (COMPARE JUDGE GABI  V  late JUDGE CHIDJAWUSIKU , land issue case ).

The government may influence the outcome of the proceedings to be in their favour. If that particular judge wants to pay back or return a favour, he may appease the government by ruling in its favour. Here the undue influence may unwittingly play a pivotal role in influencing the outcome. Thus the judiciary institutions would not have executed their duties, reasonably, justly and fairly.

Everyone is entitled to a fair trial. Even those would be top judges, who are in the line of being promoted, will not be free to exercise their legal skills freely. Because, they would want to impress the government so that when their time to apply for the top positions, they will be recognised for ruling in favour of the government in cases involving the government v …the accused. So judges will not execute their duties efficiently, effectively and judiciously as expected by the public of Zimbabwe.

The judiciary entity is supposed to be free from any political influence or any other external influence which may compromise the outcome of the judgements made by magistrates and judges. Lest there will be a conflict of interest among judges. Judges and magistrates are supposed to be apolitical or non-partisan. The purpose of justice is to deliver justice.Justice is synonymous with fairness. Fairness, in the judiciary system, is the right of every person alleged to have committed a crime.

There is a fear that when a  judicial panel, is adjudicating on a high profile matter, they will all agree to the same outcome. By virtue of their professional ethics, they should at one point or another be some judges in the judicial panel who will disagree with the finding. To ensure autonomy, to scrutinise the others most jurisdictions there is what is called, "the separation of powers". That is the Judiciary (independent), Executive (independent) and the Legislative or legislature(independent). However, each scrutinising the others but without imposing any ideas upon each department. This a safeguard, to ensure the smooth running of each department. In this case, Mnangagwa's idea, is right to push for a change in the appointment system as discussed above.

In every society, where a people live and interact at various levels, there is bound to be some disagreements in some ideas or policies, norms and values. One sociologist mentioned that, "if in society people always agree with each other, they will be like ants whose lives are  programmed." Ants move in a single file line. The merits of appointment of judges by the President, as embodied, in the constitution, are far outweighed by their demerits. (food for thought) (Everyone is entitled to freedom of expression)

Njabulo

Source - Njabulo
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