Chidyausiku's concerns genuine

HARARE - This week, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku lamented the slashing of perks for members of the judiciary.

We totally agree with Chidyausiku that there is need for government to adequately remunerate judges, magistrates and even prosecutors to ensure an efficient justice delivery system especially in times like these where the economic situation is bad.

Surely, we can’t have our judges and magistrates living from hand to mouth as this might force them to resort to bribery to make ends meet.

The concerns raised by Chidyausiku are genuine and government must immediately take steps to rectify the situation.

Judges and magistrates must be well-remunerated in line with their colleagues in the region and abroad so that criminals and fraudsters cannot take them for granted.

Chidyausiku said: “The challenges that we have enumerated during past addresses remain. These include severe under-funding and unattractive conditions of service for all members of the Judicial Service as well as unfulfilled conditions of service for all judges.”

We tend to agree with Chidyausiku that the slashing of perks is unprecedented and that it is illegal.
We hope the minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa will keep his word and help improve conditions of service for members of the judiciary.

Mnangagwa said:  “That’s general law that you don’t reduce salaries of civil servants. I heard him (Chidyausiku) say so. I need to look at what actually happened. I have not been aware. We have just been hearing him say so now. I was not aware about the issue.”

The only way to stamp out corruption in the judiciary as alluded to by Mnangagwa is to make sure the judges, magistrates and prosecutors are happy and that they get attractive perks for them to lead modest lives.

Mnangagwa promised to root out corruption in the judiciary but for him to achieve this, he has to ensure that judges, magistrates and prosecutors are happy financially otherwise the Justice minister will be wasting his time.

We also join Chidyausiku in commending the magistrates’ courts headed by Mishrod Guvamombe for managing to handle 85 008 criminal trials the whole year.

This, coming against the backdrop of manpower shortages and poor remuneration, was a great achievement for Guvamombe and his team in 2013. And we can only hope for an even better 2014.

The country has 208 magistrates against an establishment of 250 and again Mnangagwa must move in to solve the problem.

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