The government says the country’s legal framework must give positive signals to would be investors that Zimbabwe respects the rule of law.
The official opening of the Mutare High Court saw Acting President, Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga highlighting the importance of the legal framework, particularly at a time Zimbabwe is keen to lure investors into the country.
Dr Chiwenga noted that where the rule of law prevails, the nation benefits as investors will be easily swayed to make it their preferred destination.
“Equally, business derives confidence from courts which deal with cases promptly and not delaying in pronouncing their decisions. The courts must protect proprietary interests of everyone in Zimbabwe, including juristic persons.
“With world class institutions like this new high court, Zimbabwe has no hesitation in inviting those interested to invest in the country. It is further proof of the fact that, everyone can, in this new Zimbabwe trust us with their investments,” said Acting President Chiwenga.
Acting President Chiwenga also noted that a legislative as well as administrative mechanism to ease the way of doing business will see magistrate courts being designated as commercial courts with small claims courts at each magisterial station and creation of commercial and other specialised divisions of the high court.
Turning to the corruption, Acting President Chiwenga had this to say: “We must fight corruption at all costs…there are no sacred cows on this issue.” He added that government has set up specialised anti-corruption courts to fight this scourge.
He said the new dispensation believes in timeous justice delivery, hence the courts must without delay deal with the back log of cases.
“Legitimacy of the courts is derived from the people. The courts should not be seen as places of just punishing people but a means of delivering justice,” he said.
Dr Chiwenga said court is being opened when the country is preparing to hold harmonised elections in a few months and reiterated that the government is ready to ensure a free, fair and credible election.
He acknowledged the unity of purpose between the Judicial Service Commission, Local government Ministry, Justice Ministry, Minister of State for Manicaland and other private players who collaborated in renovating the former cinema house which is now the Mutare High Court, saying this demonstrates what can be achieved when a people come together.
Acting President Chiwenga says the court is one of the best in the region – the architectural designs and engineering were sourced locally, embracing the Buy Zimbabwe initiative and showing that the country has high expertise in critical sectors.
The Mutare High Court becomes the fourth permanent high court circuit in the country after the construction of one in Masvingo in 2016, a move that will help reduce congested court rolls.
Previously, there were only two high courts, one in Harare and the other in Bulawayo, which were both established before independence.
Statistics presented during the official opening of the legal year for Mutare circuit court showed the backlog of cases at the Mutare High Court stood at 63 with some dating back to 2003.