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Zim judges are impartial and independent, insists Chief Justice

Zim judges are impartial and independent, insists Chief Justice

Chief Justice Luke Malaba has warned politicians and other critics not to interfere with the judicial decisions of the courts, saying judges are impartial and independent.

He said judges are not influenced by any political interests, but by the facts and the law.

He was speaking at a symposium for judges in Gweru yesterday, where he assured them of the Judicial Service Commission’s support and protection.

He said judges should not be intimidated or swayed by those who want to undermine the rule of law and democracy.

He said judges are apolitical and do not know what slogans are.

“Politics is for politicians and judges know no slogans. In any case, I don’t think judges know what a slogan is. We are totally apolitical, we don’t think politically but legally and to us the law is the master. Politics is for politicians no matter who they are,” he said.

He said some people were making a mistake and a terrible mistake to think that judges must decide in a particular manner, which he described as ridiculous.

He said judicial decisions are based on the Constitution, which entrenches judicial independence and requires courts to apply the law impartially, expeditiously and without fear, favour or prejudice.

“So, I don’t believe and I don’t accept a situation where some people want to make it fashionable to criticise judges for the decisions they make. It just doesn’t make sense. You can’t do that and still want to be in a democracy. You can’t be a person who still wants to be in a democracy and still undermine the rule of law,” he said.

He said there should not be any interference in terms of how the judiciary system operates.

“I am standing here to say clearly you are fully protected in your decisions, make your decisions, whatever decisions that come out and if they are legal, make them. There are channels to take when one is aggrieved,” he said.

He also urged judges to take personal responsibility to ensure they are professionally up to date and competent, as required by section 165 (7) of the Constitution.

He said judges must meet the standards of performance defined by the law, which include efficiency, effectiveness and expeditiousness.

He said judges are the custodians of justice and must know the law better than anyone else.