Friday, 6 May 2022


MISCONDUCT by judges is worrying given that judicial officers are the last line of defence in the protection of people’s rights, President Mnangagwa has said.

Commissioning the Commercial Court of Zimbabwe Division of the High Court and the Integrated Electronic Case Management system in Harare yesterday, the President said three judges had been discharged in terms of the Constitution after tribunal recommendations in the last three years with one case still pending.

The establishment of the Commercial Court of Zimbabwe seeks  to improve the ease of doing business as part of the Second Republic’s efforts to attract local and foreign direct investment (FDI) through fast resolution of commercial disputes while the case management system is meant to see the Constitutional and Supreme Courts and the Commercial Division of the High Court go paperless with all judicial documents served electronically.

Speaking on judicial conduct, the President said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was set up under the Constitution to ensure that the judiciary was independent.

“We thus expect impeccable and ethical conduct from our judicial officers. The courts through our judges and magistrates are the last line of defence in terms of the protection of fundamental human rights for our people, and should uphold the highest ethical standards. This is the only way that our citizens are assured of fairness and quality justice,” said President Mnangagwa.

“I am deeply concerned by the rising cases of misconduct among judges that are brought to me in terms of Section 187 of the Constitution. Within a period of three years, we have had tribunals set up in terms of the Constitution to deal with alleged cases of gross misconduct of judges. To date three judges have been discharged from service and one other judge has a case pending before the tribunal. This demonstrates the transparency of processes in our constitutional democracy.”

He said his Government was aware of the importance of the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.

“We expect the judiciary to perform its function of applying our laws and the Constitution independently without any form of interference,” President Mnangagwa said.

Judges that have been fired for gross misconduct are Supreme Court judge Justice Francis Bere and High Court judges Erica Ndewere and Thompson Mabhikwa while the case of High Court judge, Justice Edith Mushore is still being handled by a tribunal.

 Regarding the establishment of the Commercial Court of Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa said it was a significant development for the country in terms of improving the ease of doing-business environment in Zimbabwe. The division has been moved into the completely remodelled Bristol House in Harare.

The state of the art facility housing the court was a reflection of the JSC’s appreciation of the economic trajectory of the Second Republic towards a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

“This stand alone Commercial Division of the High Court will undoubtedly enhance the confidence of the public and investors alike in the justice delivery system of our country. It further dovetails with the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations,” President Mnangagwa said.

The court will be one of the leading forums for commercial dispute resolution and so help to enhance the climate for ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

“The Commercial Court will be charged with handling complex and high value national and international business disputes. The complexity demands a higher level of personal accountability on the part of the presiding judges,” the President said.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the establishment of the Commercial Court by the JSC resonated well with the Government policy of not leaving anyone or any place behind.

“This is a launch of a new era which resonates with the Second Republic’s clarion call for infrastructure development and enhancement of access to justice to ensure an upper-middle-income society by 2030,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Chief Justice Luke Malaba gave a background of the Commercial Court and the Integrated Electronic Case Management system which he said will bring an end to physical filing of court documents.

He said the filing of court processes and documents will now be done from home or office of litigants or their legal practitioners while some of the court hearings will be done virtually without the need for parties participating being at court physically.

He said the Integrated Electronic Case Management system will also integrate others involved in the administration of justice such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, National Prosecution Authority, Attorney General, and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi described the setting up of the Commercial Court as a milestone.

He said the commissioning was a significant step both in the administration of justice and the ease of doing business in the country.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya said a functional Commercial Court will foster confidence and reassurance of the presence of the rule of law to investors and mitigate against losses of value given that it seeks to expeditiously resolve commercial disputes.

He said the amount of foreign currency in the economy is adequate to support a stable foreign exchange position but it was being undermined by delinquent behaviour by some in the country. Herald


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