The MDC and judicial freedom

tsvangirai_addressingStatement by the MDC President and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the Rt Hon. Morgan R. Tsvangirai (pictured), Harare.

The MDC is a genuinely democratic party which believes in Constitutionalism and the rule of law. At the core of the rule of law is the belief that disputes must be settled after due process and that there can be no resort to self-redress and self execution. That is why for many years, the MDC has persistently and consistently sought redress in the courts of Zimbabwe.

We have filed endless applications with different results with the various courts in Zimbabwe. The reason why we did this was our strong belief in the Judiciary and we still believe that disputes can be resolved in the courts of this country.

To that extent, I and the party I lead truly believe in the independence of the Judiciary. This means that there should not be an executive interference in the work of the Judiciary. This also means that the conditions of service of those who serve in the Judiciary, the provision of the necessary requirements such as law reports, translation and recording equipment and research assistants, must be provided and enhanced.

It follows that the Judiciary itself has a duty to uphold the laws of the country in a fair and just manner.

My recent comments on the Judiciary were clearly an immediate reaction against a judgement that affected the morale of my party. Those comments should not be taken out of context. They are not in any way a departure from my strong belief in judicial independence nor were they meant to undermine anyone.

As a party, we remain committed to judicial independence. We have never sought to undermine anyone in the Judiciary and we will continue to place our matters before the courts. That is why, as recently as last Saturday, our lawyers were before Justice Chiweshe, arguing for the lifting of the ban on our peace rally.

In a democracy, the courts must have the freedom of exercising their duties without undue interference from politicians and the executive. We believe in the separation of powers of the executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. The Judiciary will remain the last bastion of the defence of the rights of citizens in a democratic society.

Morgan R. Tsvangirai

MDC President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe

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