Call for permanent High Court in Gweru
Gweru (New Ziana) -High Court Judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa has called for the establishment of a permanent High Court in Gweru to make access to justice easy for the public in the Midlands Province.
Currently, the Gweru High Court circuit sits three times per year where an average 39 cases are set down for hearing, translating to a mere six weeks of court sitting in a year.
“Let me add my voice to the clarion call for the establishment of a permanent High Court in the Midlands capital,” she said.
“We cannot talk of a Zimbabwe in which world-class justice prevails as our vision and with core values that speak to, among other things, accessibility of court facilities when we still have hordes of litigants travelling to either Harare or Bulawayo in order to access justice.
“It is also important to note that no civil cases are heard when the High Court sits on circuit so litigants in civil matters have to travel to Bulawayo for the resolution of their civil matters.”
Justice Kabasa said traveling to Bulawayo is not only time-consuming but also makes accessing justice an expensive exercise.
The decentralisation of the High Court has seen the High Court now having a permanent seat in Mutare, Masvingo and Chinhoyi.
The establishment of a High Court in the province will translate to a reduction of the backlog in criminal cases, with current cases ready for trial standing at 105, while cases under investigation or in the set down office standing at 50.
Justice Kabasa said the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on court sittings which in turn affected the clearance of cases as only urgent matters and bail applications were being dealt with.
The theme of this year’s address by the Chief Justice of the High Court is: “Use of technology to enhance efficiency and the rule of law in the Judiciary.”
Technology would entail, among other things, virtual sittings which would mean no court interruptions as happened with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Justice Kabasa said.