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Zim Judiciary and the 'Rule of law' Doctrine

13 Dec 2018 at 15:20hrs | Views
The trial of Honourable Tendai Biti started on a rather premature and dramatic note at Rotten Row Magistrates Court in Harare.

In my view, it gave some of us an opportunity to observe, reflect and comment on the practical application of the "Rule of law" doctrine in our Courts.

This is my humble opinion on the prelimenary points raised by defence Counsel Beatrice Mtetwa:-

It is trite that an accused person must be given access to all information in the State's possession which may assist him in the preparation of his defence. Failure to do so, would, clearly, be a violation of the right to a fair trial. Until the State avails sufficient information to Mr. Biti, the matter is resolved.

In addition, it is very possible that the trial proceedings may even be stayed until such a time the question is determined by Superior Courts in Zimbabwe. But then, again, the ConCourt has already refused litigants access to ZEC servers in pre-election petitions.

Secondly, the question of how the accussed was brought before the Court is both worrying as it is pertinent. Mr. Biti is not properly before the Zimbabwe Court, it has no jurisdiction, his arrest in Zambia and against a High Court order of that land was unlawful. To that extent the matter is resolved.

Lastly, whether the several counts Mr. Biti is facing relate to two or more separate announcements of the election results or some other independent act of commission or ommission is not clear. I will therefore refrain from commenting on that aspect of his defence, splitting of charges.

Notwithstanding, am expecting to see the politics of the law at play throughout this trial episode.

Walter Nyabadza is a Zimbabwean lawyer and legal advisor for the National Reclamation Assembly. He can be contacted on 0771 725 704 or

Source - Walter Nyabadza
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