Seeking redress against Judicial Officers in #Zimbabwe

via Seeking redress against Judicial Officers in terms of Statutory Instrument 107 of 2012 March 14, 2014 by William Eckem Sithole

In a previous article, I requested any member of society who has knowledge, to share with the public, the procedure to be followed by a party who has been hurt by the actions of a Judicial Officer acting out of sync with his oath of judicial office. I am happy to announce that a patriot did respond. To our patriot, who chose to remain anonymous, thank you.

The lawmaker promulgated the Judicial Service (Code of Ethics) Regulations, 2012, under Statutory Instrument 107 of 2012. In its preamble, the above Code of Ethics states “AND WHEREAS the Constitution provides for the impeachment of a judicial officer, it is recognized that no formal complaints mechanism is provided to deal with complaints about judicial officers falling short of impeachable conduct”.

This part, when read in conjunction with Section 15 of The Judicial Service Act [Chapter 7:18], which states “Subject to the Constitution, this Act or any other enactment, any case involving misconduct or suspected misconduct on the part of a member of the Judicial Service shall be investigated, adjudicated upon and, where appropriate, punished by the Commission”, is a sad indictment on our Judicial Officers.

The mere fact that the Lawmaker, in his wisdom, had to make provision for disciplining Judicial Officers is an acknowledgement and testimony to the fact that our Judicial Officers have allowed themselves to be compromised. and hence could not be trusted to be given total independence as is due to them.

A puzzle I can not fathom is the fact that the Executive is many a time accused of arm-twisting the Judiciary, in the process, compromising the same. Yet, it is the Executive that initiated, and guided debate in Parliament and Senate that led to the promulgation of the Judicial Service Act [Chapter7:18] and all subsidiary legislation under it.

In my humble view, this is the price the Judiciary has to pay for allowing themselves to be compromised. In the eyes of the voting public, the Judiciary is viewed with suspicion, for, by failing/ refusing to apply the laws of the Republic, it is seen as reversing the gains of the war of liberation, through the unsound judgements that offend the letter and spirit of the constitution. Hence, the Judiciary must be treated as junior to the other arms of state, needing strict regulations to guide them. Thus, we, the voting public owe a debt of gratitude to the Lawmaker for providing us with the means to seek redress against the ‘evil’ judiciary.

Instead of seeing the writing on the wall and jealously guarding its independence as provided for in the Constitution, the Judiciary allows itself to be used to hurt people by delaying and denying justice. It does not matter how the Courts try to dress it up, if they cause an injustice, they are responsible for tearing the social fabric of our beloved society and as such, must be exposed and shamed.

This, we must do, to protect those other members of the Judiciary who have remained true to their oath of office, for, those corrupt elements will not rest until the entire bench is compromised, as a protective measure. Our Courts exist to do justice and this justice is the by-product of the diligent application of the laws of the land. Period.

The Code of Ethics looks at the conduct of Judicial Officers on and off the bench, calling all Officers to conduct themselves to the highest standards of personal and professional behaviour. For example, it would be improper behaviour for a married judge to have a girlfriend.

While this may be considered a petty issue by some, in the eyes of the Judicial Service Commission, this is a serious offence, for Judicial Officers are Marriage Officers as well as have the power to grant divorces, so, the Judicial Officer can not perform such a task, if he himself has dirty hands.

It is even worse when a Judicial Officer causes a party to the proceedings before him or her an injustice. Whether the injustice is an undue delay in finalising the matter, partiality, failure to possess the knowledge and skill in applying the law, it is immaterial, the Judicial Officer must be dragged before a tribunal of his peers and answer. If found guilty, the ultimate sanctions is dishonourable discharge from his/ her office.

The above provisions have been embedded into our Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment [Number 20] Act and codified in the Code of Ethics [Statutory Instrument 107 of 2012]. They signify the Lawmaker’s resolve to hold the Judiciary to account for deviations from the high standards expected the world over, of judicial officers, on and off the bench.

We as litigants must play our part. The Lawmaker can only put the infrastructure in place. But, we must use it when we have to. Muttering in the dark and bad-mouthing the judiciary is a display of cowardice.

Let us stand by our convictions. If an injustice was done to you, you have recourse with the Constitutional Court. Furthermore, the Judicial Service Commission is on stand-by to help you.

Civic Service Organisations must go on outreach programs, educating people on how to seek redress from Judicial misdemeanors. Yes, our Civic Service Organisations are doing a good job conscientising people about gay rights, women abuse, animal cruelty and the like.

You would only think human rights are violated by the state, when policeman beat up defenceless women. Far greater Human rights abuses are being committed at the workplace. Employees are losing their jobs wrongfully and unlawfully. When they approach the Labour Court, they are done in by an uncaring judiciary that hunts with the hounds and at the same time runs with the hares.

Conscientise the workers about the protection they have, should judges of the Labour Court deviate from the straight and narrow. Or is our Civic Society keeping quiet because they too, as employers are busy ripping off their workers. Or are they being funded by the corporates, such that they are dancing to the pipers’ tune.

Companies are being siezed unlawfully and such transactions facilitated by greasing a few palms, when the owner uses the Courts to try and assert his rights. Many a time, this is done outside the confines of the law. This causes multiple losses to the country.

To begin with, we lose entrepreneurs who have the capacity to create jobs for our unemployed population. Second, we suffer a reputational damage as a country, drying up lines of credit, losing contracts and markets and curtailing Foreign Direct Investments. Third, the workers lose their jobs. The person who muscles his way into the company will quickly sell off the assets of the company and whatever finished goods were available, pocket the money and look for another company to strip. And the clever judicial officer who helped buy time for the Asset Stripper, remains with an offence that must be prosecuted for the greater good of society.

If people did not know of how to do it, the Lawmaker has done the job for you and codified how a judicial officer can be brought to book.

The onus now rests on you to approach the relevant authorities and file your claim. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I am excited, for, now I can see a path opening up and leading into a highway to assist me make good my losses while at the same time helping us get rid of the chancers who sneaked onto the bench and are destroying our national institutions.

Share the message and take action. Zimbabwe demands that of you. If you chose to remain silent, you will allow others to squander your children’s inheritance. I would rather fight and die with honour than live miserably on my knees.

And to our Judicial Officers who sold their offices to the corrupters for a few pieces of silver. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Your dirty past is about to catch up with you.

William Eckem Sithole is a victim of justice gone to the dogs. He is currently based in South Africa. He can be contacted on e-mail at eckysithole@gmail.com

 

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9 comments on “Seeking redress against Judicial Officers in #Zimbabwe
  1. apolitical says:

    The problem lies ultimately with the law society and the standards of ethics within.
    In a case where the then Chief Justice offered a complainant unlimited money from any bank in Zimbabwe for a period of 12 months for all his projects if he withdrew his case from High Court and backed off from the then Head of Bar considering murders as casualties of the law.
    This situation was refered to Oxford University where the administrator said the problem lies with the law society and its intimidation. Their sentences supported crime with 500 dollars for under the guise of having power of attorney lawyers stole property.
    Three years suspension for those charged with murder 1
    A bar from practicing from law for representing a member of the public against a fellow lawyer.
    A letter stating it was unprofessional to represent any member of the public knowing whatvhe was doing to other legal practitioners was provided as evidence.
    This situation has mow reached the ICC at the Hague and until the law society is attended to no Judicial Officers can be brought to book and they are all members of the law society.
    If YOU WANT Justice support complaints tom the ICC head of investigations already in progress.
    Its the only way locally all lawyers in the administration are intimidated – if you continue against the law society you will never practice law again in Zimbabwe.
    Its very stupid to think an individual can bring a case against any lawyer in Zimbabwe including a Judge and illustrates extreme lack of local knowledge.

  2. easily fooled says:

    Yu joke big time. Remember these people servants to one who is a god unto himself….so no impeachment of any form ofndispline for they are the servant to the most high master.

    Perhaps a better way is to isolate them in the communities they live. Let them ensure the cost of sending their children to Singapore or South Africa. Get their names and write all the bad things on the internet news sites and newspapers. Perhaps try to ensure their lives are also at risk for being gods of baal, gods of Ekron. We dont need legal punishment to punish them. If they ask for salt in our community, lets give them sand. The same isolation had been experience by Bob, thus why he is always fast asleep at UN conferences…..becoz he has no friends to chat with

    • apolitical says:

      It is sad that many like you are easily fooled.
      The reason for the first attempt at a constityution was to remove the power to suspend dismiss a judge from the president.
      After stating in thec legfalm forum – i am quite capable of judging myself a new constitution wascarrempted.
      John Deary stated to delegates after it was accepted – we had to sdo it that way, the whole objecytive was to protect Gubbay AND McNally they are our friends – negotiations went up and down and we offered to fast track the land reform in exchange and were successful, Mugabe unfortunately is in for another term but we were successful.There was a huge case of corruption and murder against the chief justice at that stage.
      Please don’t rock the boat, someone had to lose and it was the commercial farmers but that happens in any negotiation and they will pay to form an opposition party to change the government.
      There was a no vote but in the new constitution judges are protected and by extension so is the legal mafia.
      Amazing how easy it was to fool the political parties and electorate. Load of idiots.

  3. Gondobwe says:

    The buck stops with the Executive arm of government. He appoints the judiciary. The judiciary are members of the law society. We have good laws in Zimbabwe, even the discarded constitution was a good piece of document in good hands. The biggest problem is that the security sector is now above the executive and they call the shots.

    • apolitical says:

      The most powerful arm of society are without doubt the legal mafia of the law society – they are the one who control finance with a lawyer on the board of every bank.
      Others just think they control!
      appointing a Judge from those recommended by the law society doesn’t mean control, the law society has always been in control even IMF and World bank had meetings first with advocates in chambers prior to government.
      When there was a case against the former chief justice and it was thought he could be dismissed or suspended we had the first referendum.
      John Deary after the draft was adopted by the Judge President stated to those having coffee afterwards “please dont rock the boat we had to do it this way we couldn’t afford objections, the whole objective was to protect Justice Gubbay AND McNally they are our friends – we negotiated up and down against fast tracking the land reform process and we succeeded in terms of the draft they cant be fired or suspended, unfortunately the commercial farmers had to lose but someone loses in every negotiation and, in terms of the draft Mugabe is in for another term in terms of the draft but the farmers will fund an opposition party tom protect themselves and we can get rid of this government and be safe to carry on business.
      There was a no vote but in the current constitution they were successful in the protection of the mafia and in the removal of the clause that held Britain responsible for compensation.
      The lawyers won, Britain won and the nation lost that’s what happens when the media is controlled from overseas via propaganda and we have a nation who believe an often uneducated journalist telling stories.

      • Peter tosh says:

        I told you Apolitical to stick to your timetable of taking your medication, there you go again!

        • apolitical says:

          If you don’t have any knowledge or the capability to ask why bother to write.
          perhaps a psychologist may help you – and again don’t think there’s anyone here in your ward.

  4. apolitical says:

    Tosh if you don’t have the capability or knowledge to write anything and have been brainwashed, easily in your case. Please don’t waste space.

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