Mnangagwa Awards US$400 000 Housing Loans To Judges | Report
The Government has reportedly awarded US$400 000 housing loans to all judges in the country, two months before elections.
Nehanda Radio reported a source as saying that the Chief Justice, Luke Malaba and his deputy Elizabeth Gwaunza have already been allocated their benefits. Said the source:
It’s US$400 000 per judge. Started off as something for the CJ (Chief Justice) and the DCJ (Deputy Chief Justice). Now going to other judges.Feedback
Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared 23 August as the day for the harmonised elections and 2 October 2023 as the date for the run-off/re-run if it becomes necessary.
Speaking to Nehanda Radio, political commentator Pride Mkono questioned the timing of the loans considering that the judiciary plays an important role in resolving post-election disputes. Said Mukono:
Usanetseke neNetOne airtime.
Baya *405# utenge neEcoCash
So, the issue of judges getting perks as high as US$400 000 for purchasing houses and other properties raises a lot of concerns about their professional conduct and independent standing as the judiciary especially when it comes at a time when they are expected to be presiding over a critical process such as the nomination court and possible petitions post 23 August general election.
While the idea of improving the welfare of government workers is an important and ideal situation, it must not be done in a manner that exposes judges to political posturing and pork-barrelling.
They must be allowed to do their work professionally and independently and pay raises should be done in a professional and transparent manner without having political undertones.
Zimbabweans are right to fear that this has the potential of violating the Constitution, especially the principles around the independence of the judiciary.
Another political commentator who preferred anonymity told Nehanda Radio said the housing loans show that the judiciary is captured. Said the commentator:
This is once again a clear demonstration that the judiciary in this country is now captured.
It is no longer serving its purpose of being an impartial adjudicator of issues, particularly where politics is involved.
It began with the amendment of the Constitution to allow only one person, which is the President, to appoint, when Zimbabweans had indicated that when it comes to judges they had wanted the Parliament to be involved because the judiciary would be impartial.
So, this situation clearly demonstrates that Zimbabwe is headed in the wrong direction and those that are presiding over this know that they are responsible and that the people will reject them come August 2023.
Therefore, they have decided to buy themselves into power by making this decision to ensure that in either outcome; if the outcome is contested in court, the judges will actually prefer to support them.
Last year, the Government awarded Members of Parliament US$40 000 each, and Cabinet Ministers US$500 000 each, funded by taxpayers for houses.
More: Pindula News
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