Justice delayed is justice denied

We find it odd that a High Court judge would use the occasion of the opening of a regional court circuit to make a political statement.We find it odd that a High Court judge would use the occasion of the opening


of a regional court circuit to make a political statement. Quite clearly his intention was to ingratiate himself with the Mugabe regime – perhaps in the hopes of promotion?


Justice Chinembiri Bhunu’s sycophantic grovelling is a stark indication of just how low Zimbabwe’s once internationally respected judiciary has sunk.


Bhunu sanctimoniously proclaimed that it was not the duty of the judiciary to ‘spring anyone into office or maintain anyone in power’.


Nobody is asking him to do that!


If that is what he thinks Morgan Tsvangirai’s petition before the Supreme Court is all about, no wonder it has taken more than three years for the High Court to even hear the case, forcing him to appeal to the Supreme Court to intervene.


Surely Bhunu is not unaware of the maxim: Justice delayed is justice denied?


Tsvangirai’s lawyers mounted a court challenge alleging massive electoral violence and fraud during the 2002 Presidential elections.


Surely the honourable judge would agree that it is the duty of the judiciary to ensure that the wishes of the people expressed through the ballot box are upheld by the government of the day.


If the people cannot change their leaders legitimately, through the ballot box, and rely on the courts to establish whether or not electoral fraud has been committed – the alternative is rather ghastly.


I wonder just how Justice Bhunu thinks such issues can be resolved?


The chief justice himself, Godfrey Chidyausiku, set up electoral courts just before the 2005 general elections to settle expeditiously any disputes resulting from the electoral process. We would have thought that this would send a message to members of the bench that electoral matters needed to be given high priority to avoid a repetition of 2000.


The sorry events of that general election brought shame on our country and our judiciary. Several Zanu (PF) held seats were declared invalid by the High Court after MDC lawyers proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there had been widespread intimidation and violence, as well as outright rigging.


Through an abuse of the judicial system, the affected members appealed to the Supreme Court, which still has not heard the appeals, six years later. This allowed the fraudulently elected Zanu (PF) MPs to sit in parliament for its entire five-year lifetime, making laws, drawing salaries and enjoying benefits.


The constituents were denied their right to choose their leaders and in many cases suffered bitterly for having dared used their votes against the ruling party.


The first step for any new administration to take would be to ensure that such obviously politically motivated judges as Bhunu are asked to step down as soon as possible.

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