President Mnangagwa re-affirms judicial independence
Victoria Falls (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe government respects the independence of the judiciary and will continue abiding by the doctrine of the separation of powers to foster the rule of law, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
He said this while officially opening the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum in the resort city of Victoria Falls.
“My government respects the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary as a corner-stone of a constitutional democracy. We have one of the most transparent Judge’s appointment systems in which the prospective judges are subjected to public interviews by the Judicial Service Commission,” he said.
“We also have constitutionally entrenched security of tenure provisions that protect the judiciary from the perceptions of victimisation. Government therefore respects the decisions and orders of the courts and has put in place mechanisms to enforce those orders. This is indeed a fundamental aspect or the rule of law.”
President Mnangagwa, however said despite enjoying its constitutionally guaranteed independence, the judiciary would be held to high standards of accountability.
“The need to respect the independence of the judiciary however, does not in any way imply that judges shall not be accountable. Judicial independence is guaranteed as the essence of the rule of law on condition that the principles of transparency and accountability are observed in the performance of judicial functions,” he said.
“An accountable and transparent judiciary is one that people can have uttermost confidence in and one that is free of corruption while also expeditiously dealing with and finalising matters before the courts.”
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa urged the judiciary to keep abreast with technological advancements in the discharge of its duties.
The theme of the forum is; “The judiciary and technology in Africa.”
“As the judiciary, you provide an essential service that cannot be held in abeyance or dispensed with even in such difficult times. You have an obligation to ensure that the wheels of justice do not grind to a halt.
“Justice must be kept alive and accessible to all, there is therefore, need for the judiciary to be innovative and come up with ways to continue dispensing justice. In this regard, it is incumbent upon everyone to be responsive to the new demands of the dynamic world we now live in. ICTs are now an absolute necessity in all aspects of our daily lives. As the judiciary, you too must adopt progressive innovations relevant to your field,” he said.
“As with any other system, technology may also have its downside, possible negative effects must therefore be comprehensively assessed and mitigated. As we move forward in this new normal, we must remain cognisant of realities on the ground.”
President Mnangagwa added; “Lack of ICT connectivity and skills coupled with varying economic situations should not unduly infringe on our people’s right to access.”