President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged legal practitioners to be instruments of peace building, social cohesion, beacons of equality and advocates of economic justice, as the task of rebuilding a country is for everyone.

Cde Mnangagwa was speaking at the official opening of the 20th SADC Lawyers Association Conference and General Meeting taking place in the resort town of Victoria Falls where the need to support strong institutions for equal access to justice is on the agenda.

President Mnangagwa said the deliberations will further the developmental cause of the SADC region.

“It is my humble view that law and development are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. I exhort you, the legal professionals to go beyond ensuring the entrenchment of constitutionalism, rule of law and other democratic tenets within our respective jurisdictions,” he said.

Cde Mnangagwa added that the present SADC leaders have strong political will to entrench a democratic culture which nations fought for, within members’ respective jurisdictions for the interest, benefit and protection of citizens.

“My government is accelerating efforts to consolidate constitutionalism, the rule of law as well as strengthening institutions that support democracy. In the case of Zimbabwe, lawyers have an obligation to effectively assist in the national economic building and reconstruction,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa urged lawyers to return to an era of transparency and openness, no matter how tough the journey may feel, progress must be made, adding that corruption and mismanagement of institutions and systems cannot be white-washed.

He said, “I urge you to work closely with your respective governments to build effective and strong institutions for enforcement of all rights and obligations. The ever-changing societies and global dynamics……require the legal professionals to work closely with governments, more so in our developing countries.”

The annual gathering of some of the region’s finest legal minds and policy makers has attracted more than 150 delegates from SADC member states.

Among some of the issues set for deliberation include threats to the independence of the legal profession in fighting state capture and the impact of artificial intelligence in the legal practice.

Keynote speakers at the meeting include celebrated professor of law, Professor Patrick Lumumba and Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Luke Malaba.