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ZANU PF MP Calls For Better Pay For Judicial Officers

6 months agoWed, 27 Dec 2023 12:19:08 GMT
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ZANU PF MP Calls For Better Pay For Judicial Officers

A ZANU PF Member of Parliament has called for increased remuneration for judicial officers, arguing that it is crucial for ensuring efficient and impartial service in Zimbabwe’s courts.

Speaking during a recent Parliament session, Wedza North legislator Itai Ndudzo warned that poor remuneration of magistrates and prosecutors poses a danger where they may end up accepting bribes offered by criminals. CITE quoted Ndudzo as saying:

I want to address the issues that have to do with our justice delivery system. There is an order that says, he who pays the piper, chooses the tune.

We must ask ourselves the question if we are not adequately reimbursing our prosecutors and our judicial officers, we must ask ourselves the sober question of how they can sustain their livelihoods.

In our study of jurisprudence, we learn one very critical aspect: that judges and judicial officers are human beings. They live in society, just like all of us.

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They purchase whatever they require for their livelihood from the same shops that we all go to, yet they have to deal with the temptation of wealthy criminals, with deep pockets who every day are dangling carrots in their faces. That affects our justice delivery system.

In June 2023, it emerged that the Government had awarded judges “housing loans” of US$400 000 each.

The huge payout came after similar payments to Central Intelligence Organisation directors (US$350 000), MPs (US$40 000) and cabinet ministers (US$500 000).

Ndudzo said magistrates and prosecutors should not be excluded from payment of retention allowances. He said:

The exclusion of magistrates, where perhaps 90% of our people resort to, for their access to justice and matters prosecuted by our prosecutors, that exclusion must be reviewed and must be looked at as a matter of utmost urgency.

We also know that when our courts convict offenders, fines are paid.  It is saddening to note that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been excluded from benefiting from the Court Retention Fund. 

So, the prosecutors who do all the work make all the arguments, fight with the lawyers and fight the criminals until they secure a conviction, nothing comes to the NPA to support that great work. They must retain part of these funds.

In July 2023, public prosecutors informed their employer they were no longer able to continue reporting for duty because of low salaries in Zimbabwe dollars.

The prosecutors were demanding to be paid their salaries in United States dollars or be allowed to report for work three days a week and use the other days to earn money through other activities.

Ndudzo reiterated that judicial officers need to be properly renumerated, saying every Zimbabwean is a potential suspect and would need justice to be delivered on their behalf. He said;

We must all bear in mind one important fact, whether we are politicians or whether we are high-heeled or whether we are privileged in society or not, we must take into cognisance one fundamental fact that we are all going to be clients of our justice delivery system, one day or the other.

Either, we will need the services of our courts as clients being complainants and God forbid, perhaps we will need the services of our court as suspects or accused persons. 

What we need is to make sure that when we access our courts, justice is not just done, but justice is also seen to be done. 

Therefore, we must pay fair compensation to those who operate and those who run the justice delivery system.

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