Magistrates Are Guardians Of Electoral Freedoms - CJ Malaba
Chief Justice Luke Malaba has called for free and fair elections as the country heads for general elections scheduled for later this year.
Malaba made the call while addressing more than 200 magistrates and other stakeholders who are attending the first-ever Magistrates’ National Conference in Victoria Falls on Friday, 31 March.
He said magistrates are the protectors and the guardians of electoral freedom, fairness and human life and property. The Chronicle quoted Malaba as saying:
The purpose of designating magistrates with specific roles in electoral adjudication is to designate them as the protectors and guardians of electoral freedom, fairness and human life and property.
This purpose places an obligation on magistrates designated to participate in the implementation of electoral law to have an understanding of their roles and to fulfill them.
An election is a means of democratic participation enabling the aspirations of the nation to be openly presented without fear of electoral injustice, thus facilitating the assembly of these aspirations into a mutually beneficial national goal.
Malaba also said immediately after an election is called, the Commissioner-General of Police, shall establish one or more special police units to investigate cases of politically-motivated violence and intimidation arising from the election.
He said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) shall designate one or more magistrates in each province to try cases involving politically–motivated violence and intimidation.
Section 67 of the Constitution provides that every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any elective public office established in terms of this Constitution or any other law; to make political choices freely, to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice, campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause, participate in peaceful political activity individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause, subject to the Constitution.
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