LIVE BLOG: 2017 LEGAL YEAR OPENING
Updates by Costa Mano
1106: We also conclude our updates. Thank you for joining us.
1105: Chief Justice Chidyausiku has finished his final address as head of the judiciary by officially launching the Judicial Service Commission Law Report and declares the 2017 Legal Year officially open.
1103: Chief Justice Chidyausiku says, in 2016, he made the bold decision that the JSC should take up the job of compiling law reports. The new law report has cases decided between 1st of July 2015 to 1st of December 2015 with 124 judgments which he describes as truly world class. He adds that if a judge’s judgments never find their way into a law report then only their relatives will know they were once judges.
1056: He says when he informed the Executive of the new procedure on appointing the Chief Justice as required by the Constitution but he did not receive a reply and thus assumed they were happy with the new process. He says he was surprised when the Executive Order to stop interviews was written.
1054: “I wish to assure the profession and the public at large regards the unfortunate debate about my successor that has been going on… it is my view that the debate is much ado about nothing, it has obscured one important fact namely that no-matter which method is used to select my successor, the Chief Justice is appointed by the President..in the final analysis it is the President’s choice that he selects my successor,”
1048: “While dissenting judgements show an independent judiciary they also show uncertainty regards the law yet certainty is important in law. A new High Court was opened after 122 years in Masvingo which marked the start of process of decentralising. A new High Court in Mutare is due to open in June 2017 if everything goes according to plan,”
1043: “The new Constitution initially increased litigation in the Constitutional Court. In 2014, 88 constitutional applications were filed and peaked to 120 in 2015 before dropping to 78. I wish to thank judges who double as judges at the Constitutional Court for a job well done,”
1039: Additional judges were appointed to the Supreme Court following the creation of the Constitutional Court in light of the new Constitution in 2013.
1037: He pays tribute Danida, the Treasury and the Department of Public Works for the building of 30 new courts including the new Masvingo High Court.
1035: “I recommend to my successor that he or she must closely monitor the performance of all courts and continue to roll back the backlogs that had become characteristic of our courts,”
1034: “To those looking from outside in, it might appear easy to administer the Courts….a culture of unaccountability had flourished, as we speak some heads of Courts still think they are autonomous and that they are unaccountable to the Chief Justice,”
1029: “The judiciary under my leadership was able to shape the jurisprudence of this nation without violating the Constitution..my successor should be faithful to the Constitution..my stance on constitutionalism has not changed….the Judicial Service Act in 2006 was one of the major milestone events to happen under my tenure..while it took four years to June 2010 to bring the Act into operation…I had no idea it would transform the legal fraternity as it has,”
1026: He says that he took over during a turbulent time which saw the people of Zimbabwe taking back their land. This, he says, split the Bench into two with one part saying the land reform programme was illegal while another school of thought which he belongs did not see it that way.
1023: “I wish to take this opportunity, if I may, to speak publicly to my successor on a number of issues, on a personal level I wish to thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe and through him the people of Zimbabwe from whom judicial authority comes from…a great honour was bestowed upon me and my family when I was appointed Chief Justice,”
1020: The Judicial Service Commission even asked me to reprimand one such judge and they made it clear that they want judges to write judgments and not just make determinations,”
1019: “I have chosen a theme for my speech, I applauded the cordial relationship that has been nurtured in the justice delivery system and I hope this grows from strength to strength…in the previous year I stepped on the toes of judges when I bemoaned the poor number of judgments that they had made…they are one or two judges whose performances remain poor,”
1016: Justice Chidyausiku is now giving his address and pays tribute to two judges, Justice Vernanda Ziyambi and Justice November Muchiya, who retired during the 2016 legal year.
1012: Chief Justice Chidyausiku was appointed in 2001 replacing Justice Anthony Gubbay.
1005: The National Anthem is now being sung.
1002: Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has arrived and is now inspecting the Quarter Guard.
1001: Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba is also opening the Legal Year in Bulawayo while Judge President Justice George Chiweshe is opening the Legal Year in Masvingo.
0955: ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and Law Society of Zimbabwe president Mrs Vimbai Nyemba are in attendance.
0954: Members of the legal fraternity, judiciary, civil society, diplomatic corps and high ranking Government officials are at the Constitutional Court in Harare for the official opening of the 2017 Legal Year.