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New Chief Justice Malaba sworn in

07 Apr, 2017 - 01:04 0 Views
New Chief Justice Malaba sworn in

The Herald

Chief Justice Luke Malaba takes his oath of office before President Mugabe at State House in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by John Manzongo)

Chief Justice Luke Malaba takes his oath of office before President Mugabe at State House in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by John Manzongo)

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
Zimbabwe has a very strong Judiciary and respects the rule of law and the wishes of the people, newly-installed Chief Justice Luke Malaba said soon after being sworn-in by President Mugabe at State House in Harare yesterday. Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, the new Chief Justice said his task was to uphold the law according to the Constitution. He becomes the third black Zimbabwean to hold the post since the country attained independence in 1980.

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“Let me say that Zimbabwe has a very strong Judiciary and that has been demonstrated today by the appointment,” he said. “We strongly believe in the rule of law and as such, to me it’s a day when we have demonstrated as a country that not only do we respect the processes by which our Judiciary is appointed to office, we also respect the wishes of the people.

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“It is in this regard that I would want to thank the people of Zimbabwe who, through the President who is the appointing authority, saw it fit to appoint me the responsibility of executing the functions of the Chief Justice of the Republic.”

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, members of the Judiciary, senior Government officials and members of Chief Justice Malaba’s family.

President Mugabe appointed Chief Justice Malaba in terms of the Constitution.

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“Sub-section (1) of Section 180 of the Constitution provides that the Chief Justice must be appointed by the President and where as Sub Section 2 of Section 180 provides that the Chief Justice is appointed from a list of three nominees submitted by the Judicial Service Commission after conducting public interviews and where as having considered the list of three nominees submitted by the JSC it has been seen fit and proper to appoint Luke Malaba as the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe,” President Mugabe.

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Chief Justice Malaba then took his oath in terms of sub-section (1) of Section 185 of the Constitution. He said he would work to ensure fulfilment of people’s aspirations.

“I have no hesitation at all in promising that I see this confidence as a test on my part to fulfil the expectations of the people and those expectations can only be described in terms of the values and aspirations of our society which are contained in the Constitution and the laws of the country,” said Chief Justice Malaba.

“So, I see my task as being to uphold the law to act in terms of the Constitution.”

Chief Justice Malaba said it was not enough to talk of the independence of the judiciary when that independence was improperly used. “Independence means responsibility,” he said. “It is only when the judiciary itself accepts that it’s not independent in order not to work, that it would be able to gain the confidence of the people.

“Without the confidence of the public, you don’t talk about the administration of justice and the confidence of the public means doing what you are supposed to do timeously.

“We look forward to a programme that ensures the system operates efficiently and by efficiency, we mean thorough preparedness and quick delivery of justice so that people can know that when you go to the courts, you get what you are getting there for. Whether you are winner or loser that is not the question.”

Chief Justice Malaba said the right of equality before the law was only possible if there was equal access to the justice delivery system.

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President Mugabe (r) with Chief Justive Luke Malaba after the swearing-in ceremony at State House yesterday afternoon. – Picture by Wilson Kakurira.

“Everybody is equal before the law and everybody has a right to protection under the law,” he said. “We cannot talk about those rights if we delay in the delivery of justice and you can see this is going to be my focus.

“We do hope that we will receive support from all sectors of our societies, including the media. In that regard, we are together. The Press is the vanguard of our people. It is through the Press that decisions of the courts are known.”

Vice President Mnangagwa, who oversees the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, described Chief Justice Malaba as a sound jurist.

Supreme Court Judge and First Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission Justice Rita Makarau-Picture by Wilson Kakurira (2)

Justice Rita Makarau was also in attendance – Picture by Wilson Kakurira.

“The President settled on Justice Malaba, who is a solid jurist in his own right, and we are very happy and confident that he is going to discharge his mandate and responsibility as the third arm of the State honourably,” he said.

Judicial Service Commission acting secretary and Supreme Court Judge, Justice Rita Makarau, welcomed the appointment of Chief Justice Malaba. “As the JSC, we stand ready to work with him,” she said. “He has been a part of us, as you know, as Deputy Chief Justice. He was part of the JSC structure, he was the deputy chairman of the JSC.

“We have worked with him before. We stand ready to support him in his plans. We stand ready to support his vision, whatever vision he might have for the JSC and we are actually happy that we have a substantive Chief Justice for Zimbabwe.”

Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, described Chief Justice Malaba as very able. “He is very able, very highly qualified,” he said. “There is no reason why people should not accept that which is good.”

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Justice Malaba is the third black Zimbabwean to be appointed Chief Justice after Justices Enoch Dumbutshena and Godfrey Chidyausiku, but is the sixth overall since Zimbabwe attained its independence.

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