Hunger for justice

'Justice delayed is justice denied' but still if eventually granted it is 'better late than never.' The Herald (16 October) gave us the good news of Judge President Rita Makarau's 'shock and disbelief' at discovering some inmates in Harare's remand prison have been waiting up to nine years to be bro

ught to trial. It is good news because it is clear she is going to do something about it. She ‘is determined to clear the backlog plaguing the High Court and to decongest the prison to manageable levels and to a humanly habitable degree.’ She went on to say, ‘this is quite embarrassing and disturbing. We should take full blame for this ordeal. We have no excuse for this delay.’
Such honesty and resolve in high places is a breath of fresh air and hopefully the approach will be contagious in other areas of public life. We continue to look forward to huge changes that will radically affect our decaying social and economic structures. Perhaps we expect some velvet or orange revolution that will sweep away the old and give promise of a new beginning. Yet things are unlikely to happen that way. What is more likely is that people will change things – one person at a time. If the person who tries to make a difference is an influential person, like Justice Makarau, the change will have an immediate impact. But the lesson surely is that any one in the country can wake up and say, ‘this has to change.’
We are all accomplices, from the greatest to the least. Recently a group of young people received some capital and started a project to make bricks. All went well for a time but soon they became more interested in the fruits than in the work to produce them. They accepted an advance payment from a customer for making a 10 000 bricks, made 6 000 and then sat back. No amount of cajoling made them budge and, short of legal proceedings that would be costly and uncertain, nothing could be done. The project collapsed and the young people are without a livelihood.
But let another person come and say, ‘this is no way to do things,’ and starts all over again. Then things begin to happen. The report in The Herald closes with a comment from the Justice, ‘I have got fantastic support from my team and we are moving forward.’ Corruption may be contagious but honesty, enthusiasm and dedication are even more so.

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