By Matabeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA FALLS: President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his administration will not hesitate to discipline judiciary officers, including judges that fail to uphold principles of transparency and accountability.
He said although the government respects the decisions and orders of the courts and, this, however, should not be misinterpreted as allowing a free for all approach in the judiciary.
He made the remarks while officiating at the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum and annual conference in Victoria Falls Friday.
“Allow me to emphasise that my government respects the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary as a
cornerstone of a constitutional democracy,” he said.
“We have one of the most transparent judges’ appointment systems in which the prospective judges are subjected to public interviews by the judicial Service Commission.
“We also have constitutionally entrenched security of tenure provisions that protect the judiciary from the perceptions of victimisation. The need to respect the independence of the judiciary, however, does not in any way imply that judges shall not be accountable,” Mnangagwa said.
He added the judiciary’s independence is guaranteed in the essence of the rule of law on condition principles of transparency and
accountability are observed in the performance of judiciary functions.
“An accountable and transparent judiciary is one that people can have utmost confidence in and one that is free of corruption while also
expeditiously dealing with and finalising matters before the courts,” he said.
However, he said he would not tolerate judges that keep judgments until parties or citizens have forgotten about the cases.
He added to ease doing business, there wad need for the expeditious hearing and finalisation of commercial disputes before the courts.
Mnangagwa said the judiciary had an essential service that cannot be held in abeyance as even during a crisis to make sure the wheels of justice do not grind to a halt.
He said use of ICT was a key strategic focus area for his administration and underpinned the vision for Zimbabwe to be a prosperous and
empowered upper-middle income economy by the year 2030.
“As such, my government facilitated the establishment of a stand-alone Commercial Court which specialises in commercial disputes,” he said.
The conference was held under the theme: “Judiciary and Technology in Africa.”
However, Mnangagwa told the delegates that while Zimbabwe’s judiciary service was working on an Integrated Electronic Case Management System that allows e-filing of documents among other benefits, there is need of be cautious of the rise in cybercrime.