Chinotimba wants cops to guard magistrates
Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba has implored government to assign a police officer to guard each Zimbabwean magistrates who, due to unfortunate circumstances, are being forced to mingle with criminals as well as perform degrading chores in rented homes.
Speaking during parliament’s question and answer session recently, MPs raised concern over continued lack of accommodation and security among the court officials.
Mberengwa North legislator Tafanana Zhou was first to ask Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi what government’s position was regarding magistrates’ accommodation that would allow them to live separately with some members of the public.
He said most magistrates are staying at their own rented houses out of workstations where they even do cleaning duties with ordinary members of the public.
This, he said, compromises “our justice delivery system that requires public trust and confidence in the rule of law”.
In his response, minister Ziyambi admitted the current situation is not ideal, adding that government is “coming up with a plan in conjunction with Ministry of National Housing of having institutional accommodation for some of our magistrates, as well as our Judges”.
He added, “This is now work in progress, we are going to ensure that we separate them and we remove them from rented accommodation that may compromise them.”
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna suggested magistrates be accommodated in security places and cantonment areas such as prison complexes to which Ziyambi said was currently not feasible as prison staff already faces accommodation challenges.
Ziyambi said government’s “thrust is to ensure that we build institutional accommodation that is secure not necessarily within the complex of the prison and ensure that we avail institutional accommodation to our judicial officers”.
Chinotimba asked the minister if government could provide each magistrate with a police officer for their protection as they “face challenges from people they will have sentenced”.
In his response, Ziyambi said government’s “aim is to ensure that we build houses and where we see that they should be protected, we then put police officers to ensure their security.”
Zimbabwe however remains a relatively safe country for judicial officers with few to no incidents of court officials having been targeted over rulings they would have passed within local courts.