THE judiciary does not bend to pressure from political parties and individuals but will remain an independent constitutional institution that serves the interests of the people by providing quality justice and will continue demanding appreciation of responsibility, self-restrain and adherence to law by those who approach it, Chief Justice (CJ) Luke Malaba has said.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday News on Thursday following an election season that has already been characterised by several court cases, Chief Justice Malaba said the judiciary was an independent arm of State whose duty was to provide service to the Republic without kowtowing to political pressure from anyone.
His remarks come in the wake of criticism by some political parties after losing court cases, a development which Chief Justice Malaba said was common as most people do not appreciate that the courts were purely legal institutions that settle matters on the basis of a permissible legal framework.
He said it was unfortunate that those who criticise the courts were found going back to them (courts) again and with enough evidence winning their cases, adding that the Judiciary was made to deal with several cases relating to the forthcoming elections ever since the sitting of the nomination courts on 21 June 2023.
“The judiciary is a constitutional institution which means that it is an organisation established under the constitution by the people. As such it is an organisation that exists for the people. It is an organisation that is there to enforce the wishes of the people through the Constitution. We are a legal institution and we do not bow down to wishes of a section of the people that do not speak to the legal provisions as guided by the Constitution.
“Judgements are for the people and must not be seen in a partial manner because they are not meant for that. They are judgements that enforce the rule of law which is a fundamental value, it cannot be a fundamental value for a few others. You need to know that today you may criticise the courts and need the court service tomorrow because the courts will always be there. You might not like individuals who are there for now but that is not the issue, the issue is that there must be an institution which should be there forever as long as there is constitutional democracy,” he said.
He said the judiciary does not operate in a vacuum, and urged the public to understand that they have a responsibility to play in the deliverance of quality justice.
“Quality justice is a demand of mental attitudes and an appreciation of responsibility. It demands self-restraint and adherence to standards. So, when we talk of quality justice, we are not just talking about a standard which only the judiciary is appreciating and is seeking to enforce because the judiciary does not exist in a vacuum.
“As such you need to firstly understand your role as a person, and secondly as a person within a context of constitutionalism. In other words, we talk of popular constitutionalism which is constitutionalism by the people and demands of the people. So as the courts we look at what Zimbabweans want, for example the case of violence. When the President speaks for example, that we do not like violence, he is not speaking as an individual, but he is speaking the language of the constitution,” he said.
He said it was important for people to understand that when they are walking in the streets of Zimbabwe, they would be walking as legal people who have the responsibility of upholding the law. On their part, Chief Justice Malaba said the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) consistently trains judicial officers in order for them to be capable of delivering quality justice.
“On our part we are ensuring we deliver quality justice through training judges and magistrates. We were recently in Gweru where we were holding a second term judiciary symposium as part of the Judicial Service Commission’s policy to train people to be capable of being ideal judicial service officers,” he said. —Sunday News