Chief Justice urges ‘rule of law’ in lead-up to crunch general elections

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S Chief Justice Luke Malaba has maintained that the country’s  judiciary is independent and vowed it will uphold that status, especially in build up to the upcoming harmonised elections.

He said this during the official opening of 2023 legal year at the Constitutional Court in Harare.

Malaba said the judiciary will always uphold the rule of law.

“The Constitution makes it very clear that every citizen is entitled to peaceful, free and fair elections,” said Malaba.

“The obligation is therefore on all the political parties, the candidates and their agents to ensure that conditions conducive for the holding of peaceful, free and fair harmonised elections are created and maintained.

“As the Judiciary, we expect the rule of law to prevail, especially in the coming months when political parties start their campaigns. This is the only way that will ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.”

Malaba’s remarks come at a time he has been in the spotlight after presiding over an election challenge between the Nelson Chamisa-led, then MDC T and Zanu PF in 2018.

The Chief Justice ruled there was no tampering with results by the ruling party resulting in the main opposition and critics concluding he was captured.

The opposition had  alleged that Zanu PF’s 50.7% vote share which was just 30,000 more votes than the minimum needed for outright victory was suspicious.

Critics had also said President Emmerson Mnangagwa had benefited from an “un-level playing field”.

There were also allegations of voter intimidation.

It was Zimbabwe’s first election since long-time late leader Robert Mugabe was ousted from power the previous year.

Meanwhile, Malaba also extended his appreciation to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) stakeholders, including the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the Law Society of Zimbabwe, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service and  the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) among others.

“It is hoped that such cooperation will continue in 2023,” he said