Prison is hell, judiciary corrupt: Gutu

The justice delivery system in the country is corrupt and the state of the nation’s prisons hellish, according to the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Obert Gutu.

Obert Gutu
Obert Gutu

Presenting a paper on civil rights movements
in Harare last Tuesday, Gutu admitted that the justice
delivery system was severely tarnished and corruption had become the
order of the day.
He said that the government needed to work quickly to rescue it.

“The entire system has been politicised and, as if this was not enough,
there is burning corruption at the heart of the justice delivery system. Some
judicial officers, prosecutors and even lawyers have joined the gravy train,” he said.

The deputy minister said this had prompted the ministry to establish
an Anti-Corruption Committee whose mandate was to identify rogue
elements within the sector.

Gutu said the government was making frantic efforts to stabilise
the justice and legal departments.

“The ministry is working closely with stakeholders such as the
Attorney General’s office and the judicial service commission.

government is making frantic efforts to address these issues and hopes
to establish the rule of law, improve the justice system
and strengthen the mechanism of peace building,” he said.

As part of that work, Gutu toured the country’s prisons.

“I traveled around the country’s prisons at the beginning of 2011 and the state of the prisons is disturbing. They are like hell,” he said, adding that the ministry had plans to
renovate the institutions.

He noted that the country’s biggest prison facility, Chikurubi Maximum Prison, would
soon turn into a desert because of the extensive chopping down of trees for firewood.

“There are plans for renovation, but budget constraints make this difficult. We hope
that revenue from the sale of diamonds will enable us to do something sooner rather than later.”

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