Judges demand farms

via Judges demand farms – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2014 by Feluna Nleya

FIVE newly-appointed High Court judges have approached the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement demanding commercial farms under the land reform and resettlement programme, NewsDay has learnt.

Besides the commercial farms, the judges have also demanded new court robes and other professional regalia, saying they could not continue using second-hand garments inherited from long-retired judges.

The appeal, according to correspondence shown to NewsDay, was initiated by Judge President Justice George Chiweshe on May 15 this year on behalf of Justices Erica Ndewere, Esther Muremba, Owen Tagu, Nokuthula Moyo and Amy Tsanga.

In the letter, Justice Chiweshe petitioned the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) chairperson Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to facilitate the allocation of farms to the five High Court appointees as an incentive for them.

JSC acting secretary Justice Rita Makarau on June 17 wrote back to Justice Chiweshe acknowledging receipt of the request and pledged to facilitate the deal.

Part of Makarau’s letter read: “On 15 May 2014, you addressed a memo to the Chief Justice requesting that a request for land allocation from Justices Ndewere, Tsanga, Tagu, Moyo and Muremba be forwarded to the relevant Ministry. In turn, the Chief Justice handed over the memo to us for actioning.”

Justice Makarau confirmed that the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement had since responded to the judges’ request.

She asked Justice Chiweshe to furnish the JSC with the judges’ personal information to help Lands and Rural Resettlement secretary Sophia Tsvakwi to expedite the farm allocations.

“Kindly arrange for us to have the requested information at the earliest possible for onward transmission to Mrs Tsvakwi,” Justice Makarau, who is also Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, wrote.

Tsvakwi in a letter dated June 11 said: “I would like to acknowledge receipt of your letter requesting for allocation of land to judges of the High Court of Zimbabwe. Would you please furnish us with information on ID numbers, addresses and the preferred provinces to enable us to link up with the respective provinces.”

Several judges have courted a storm after they were allocated farmland with the public arguing that the land offer would compromise their judicial independence as they would be deemed to be pro-Zanu PF.

Some of the top judges that have benefited from the land reform programme include Justices Chinembiri Bhunu, Ben Hlatshwayo, Chidyausiku and David Mangota, among others.

Legal experts yesterday said allocation of farms to judges was likely to impair their independence.

Lawyer Chris Mhike said: “There can be no argument about the importance of richly rewarding our judicial officers — judges and magistrates.  They occupy an honourable office, and they serve a critical role to our democracy and societal organisation.

“Competitive remuneration of judges and magistrates would obviously help in eradicating, or at least minimising corruption in the justice delivery system and it would strengthen the independence of the judiciary.

“However, if that remuneration would be in the form of allocations of farms, we could face serious challenges for a number of reasons.

“First, most farms come with a great deal of controversy, arising out of the manner in which many farms were violently expropriated by the government.

“Judges and magistrates should, as much as possible, be free of any controversy.”

Constitutional expert Greg Linington said: “I am not surprised that the judges want to be allocated land, but it’s not a positive move to have judges allocated land as it gives the impression that they are accountable to the State. They should be independent and not receive anything from the State as it will give a wrong impression.”

Another lawyer who declined to be named said: “Judges should be properly remunerated to the extent that if any judicial officer is interested in farming, he or she should have enough money to buy a farm and employ a manager, or — more desirably — go into farming with sufficient resources upon retirement from the bench.”

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18 comments on “Judges demand farms
  1. The Mind Boggles says:

    How can they even use the term”Justice” bunch of thugs

  2. Petal says:

    No wonder they cannot function properly because its all about what they want – they should step down as judges

  3. Our GOD reigns says:

    Conflict of interest. How can a High Court judge rule over a land case when he himself is biased as has received a farm already?????? Read Micah 2 it tells all about this blatant theft…..May the Lord deliver us from this evil that has destroyed Zimbabwe, this country and its people deserve better, enough blatant theft of everyone else’s posessions…. we serve an Almighty God, who loves justice and righteousness!!!!!!!

  4. nyoni says:

    These Judges will be judged too .

  5. zanupf fear me says:

    We want mob justice against zanupf. There is no need for bewigged robed criminals masquerading as dispensers of law. Also most rubbish magistrates have so much to answer for soon. I pity them I the future

  6. Chaka says:

    In this country, judges are part of the looting group, that’s why their pledge is being considered. I would rather die poor than loot.

  7. Madlinduna says:

    Like each and every citizen they have a right to land ownership allocated legally with no exceptions.But for them to seek this exceptional from the state approaching from an independent institution supposedly,what gesture are they sending to the executive powers(the state)furtively.Thou obscure the state allocated land to ordinary natives who were deprived of it and who couldn’t afford it back financially.Individual free farms for special people or critical peoples institutions supposedly,i never imagined.Let’s keep the list guys,one day our father land shall be claimed back.

  8. Doris says:

    Are you a judge or a farmer? Where in the world does every single citizen own their own land? Hard work and honesty in the business world is rewarded eventually. No one is entitled to reap what they haven’t sown. Enough already.

  9. Shamhu YeNhanzva says:

    This culture of looting & demanding stuff has taken root in our country. Unfortunately it starts from the top & it trickles down. There is no accountability & corruption is rampant. The “patriotic” people that are supposedly serving their country are nothing but a bunch of selfish thugs.

  10. Mandy says:

    God, please help, this has been going on for so long Amen.

  11. Bambazonke says:

    Judgement day couldn’t come sooner . I’ll help escort these people to the “stocks” then throw away the keys

  12. Mlimo says:

    Bring on the French Revolution

  13. Mandevu says:

    OMG – banana republic is no longer a sufficient description

  14. Owen says:

    Unbelievable, even by Zanu PF’s extremely low standards.

  15. Jono Austin says:

    Banana republic-that is all there is to say. The whole lot should be summarily executed. If I was in charge there would be mass hangings in public squares. They are all a pestilence and a blight on the land.

  16. RR says:

    Absolute disgrace. These people are supposed to uphold the law, but are nothing more than thieves themselves. But to be fair, that is the system that Mugabe has created, and now everyone in a senior position in ZPF, government or parastatal believe that are entitled to free farms and to get on the corruption gravy train. Don’t believe for a minute that this mind set will change when Mugabe eventually goes.

  17. Brian says:

    Pigs + trough = some of the Zim judiciary. Every single person posting here writes of ZANU corruption infecting the highest echelons of the nation. I despair for the future of a people who are so warm, generous and civilised – no thanks to their utter failure RGM, a diseased, tin-pot African dictator.

  18. Expat says:

    Would life not be boring without all this looting going on. I am glad to see all responds agree how this corrupts the Judiciary of their independence from the State. So the next time Government wants a favorable Judgement they will roll over as they can have ‘Their land’ taken away???? If i am not mistaken has this not already happened to one!

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