Understaffed Manicaland courts short-changing locals – minister

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By Staff Reporter

STAFF shortages at courts in Manicaland province are causing serious delays justice delivery, thereby short-changing communities, a senior government official has said.

Justice delayed is justice denied, said the provincial affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa warned recently during the official opening of High Court in the eastern border city.

She said Mutare magistrates’ courts have just three judicial officers, with one of
them attending to administrative matters as provincial magistrate.

“Other lower courts in Murambinda Buhera, Nyanga and Mutasa have two court rooms but each having one magistrate per station,” said Mutsvangwa.

“People in Chimanimani have to travel distance to access judiciary services and this means our communities are being short changed.

“Justice delayed is justice denied”.

The minister urged the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) to establish a permanent court in Chimanimani and to deploy more staff in outskirts courts so that people can be served in their respective communities to cut travelling costs.

Speaking at the same event, Chief Justice Luke Malaba concurred saying there was need to construct more courts to deal with backlog of cases.

He said there had been a surge in a number of cases making it impossible for the four existing High Courts to serve the whole country.

“The High court stations, particularly Harare, are choked with backlogs. Cases are taking long to be completed despite efforts by the judiciary staff.

“The delays and expenses incurred are worrying the ordinary person who will be expecting justice to be delivered in shortest possible time,” said Malaba.