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Transforming the Judiciary in post colonial Zimbabwe

22 Aug 2020 at 20:04hrs | Views
The judiciary forms one of the pillars of democracy in the tripartite alliance known as the Executive,Legislature and Judiciary.The Zimbabwean judicial bench namely the High Court and Supreme Court was mostly dominated by white judges inherited from the colonial era of Smith regime after 1980.Probably this condition was as a result of the racist and oppressive Lancaster House Constitution which was prescribed by the British to Mugabe and Zanu PF to continually oppress and brainwash Zimbabweans. A democratic judicial system is designed to liberate the citizens and encourage freedom of speech, economic freedom and emancipation, free political association, equality and access to equal opportunities as different tribes in society, freedom to practice one's culture.

Therefore one of the major problems that continues to haunt Zimbabweans currently post 1980 is lack of a transformed judicial system which is still trapped in the cocoon of colonial legacy of oppressing Zimbabweans with questionable and sometimes dubious retrogressive laws and court judgements.Some examples of laws inherited from the colonial system is the Witchcraft and Suppression Act as well as the Stocktheft Act.Both these laws were designed by the colonial racist whites to oppress the Zimbabweans in their motherland by imposing harsh unjustifiable punishment for stealing a mere beast or cow and yet the whites stole a bigger asset being the land belonging to Zimbabweans.

It is unfortunate that even in post colonial Zimbabwe the current magistrates and judges still see nothing wrong with this colonial law as Zimbabweans are punished harshly for stocktheft even when a fine, compensation or community service can be sufficient punishment.This are some indicators of a colonized mind that has to be decolonized and all part of the legacy of Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Some of the ways of transforming the Zimbabwean judicial system is to appoint law graduates to the bench from different tribes eg Ndebele, Shangaan, Venda, Tonga, Sotho and from the diaspora educated outside Zimbabwe and stop this evil practice of only appointing University of Zimbabwe graduates.A classical example of a transformed judge was the late Justice Chidyausiku who in 2000 assumed the office of the Chief Justice after the retirement of a white judge known as Justice Gubbay who immigrated to Canada immediately after retirement.Justice Chidyusiku presided over a farm case in which he passed a judgement that granted authority to land less Zimbabweans to reverse the illegal land grabs done by the white settlers and their forefathers.Hence the farm occupations followed thereafter in the period of 2000 due to the Supreme Court judgement that protected Zimbabwean's rights to their ancestral land and hence the reversal of the land injustices created by the British colonisers and further worsened by the greed and foolishness of Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The Council for Legal Education of Zimbabwe which oversees the entrance of the foreign educated students into the Zimbabwean legal system should be restructured if not dissolved entirely.This Council does not further the careers of the Zimbabweans educated in foreign countries but serves as a gate keeper of Zanu PF interests by sabotaging these Zimbabwean students who would have worked hard to acquire their law degrees only to blocked by this Council from admission into the legal profession. This Council should instead be revisiting these colonial laws inflicting pain and oppression on Zimbabweans and either rewrite these laws or completely abolish them for the benefit of Zimbabweans.

Source - Mzilikazi Zwane
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