JUSTICE Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi says he has no authority to interrogate judges and magistrates over judgments passed in courts.
He further warned interested parties to desist from politicising the matter of incarcerated legislators, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, and 14 Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) activists detained since June for allegedly inciting violence that erupted in Chitungwiza following discovery of slain Moreblessing Ali, a CCC member.
Ziyambi made the utterances in Senate Thursday while responding to a question by Senator Morgan Komichi regarding the denial of bail to the CCC MPs, who are on remand.
According to Ziyambi, Sikhala was denied bail as a result of violations of bail conditions in previous court cases.
Komichi asked, “This country has experienced serious crimes committed by armed robbers, serial killers, rapists and many crimes.
“These criminals have their rights and they are protected by the State. My question is; these particular criminals that I have mentioned have been given bails, these armed robbers.
“Today the country is aware of Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and others; is this not a violation of their rights? Is this not selective application of the law and the Constitution? Zimbabweans want to know how the government is tackling this matter.”
In his response, Ziyambi told Senate Deputy President, Mike Nyambuya that, “I am being asked to interrogate judicial decisions which, according to the Constitution, I do not have a right to interrogate nor do I have a right to question them when a judgement is passed. Even when I question, you also indicate that the minister is now interfering with their area of jurisdiction.
“Sometimes I comment as an ordinary citizen who is just aggrieved, but not to say that I can get into details of asking why you are giving this particular decision and why you are not doing this particular decision.
“My understanding is that you are on bail on a specific case and there are conditions that are attached to that. If you violate your bail conditions then the bail will not be granted should you commit another offence. That is the general principle.”
Further, Ziyambi said, “The individual so concerned, my understanding which I just read, not to say that I was schooled by the judiciary from going to ask about judicial decision but that is not my duty; the decision of the courts was on the basis of the fact that a bail was granted, bail conditions were violated and that is the reason to deny bail.”
The minister reminded Komichi that he was not competent to question court decisions.
“A judge or a magistrate, when they are dealing with a case, even their superiors cannot even direct them. They must enjoy their independence when they are dispensing that particular case.
“The general rule or advice is for us not to play politics, but to follow court rules when we are in courts and then when we are outside or in this august House, we can then use the rules that pertain to what we do here.
“When we are in court, sometimes as politicians, we must refrain from abusing the courts for political expediency.”