Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A High Court Judge has said Zimbabweans have lost confidence in the judiciary system because of too much backlogs in the courts. Justice Charles Hungwe while officially opening the High Court Circuit in Mutare said the backlog in the courts has caused a lot of Zimbabweans to lose confidence in the judiciary system. “The volumes of matters requiring the attention of superior court judges has resulted in multi-faceted problems which include backlogs and slow delivery of justice to the extent that public confidence in the judiciary process has been significantly reduced, it is in my view time to address this,” said Justice Hungwe. Justice Hungwe said the effectiveness of circuit court is well documented and time has come to throw open for debate for suggestions for the improvement of access to justice for the generality of the population. “The present system has created a never ending spiral of backlog congesting not only the high court but also the magistrate courts and even the lower courts,” he said. Justice Hungwe said the present system was meant to service a particular social and political dispensation. He said after Zimbabwe gained its independence there was no sufficient effort made towards broadening access to justice for the general population except for the lower echelons of the judiciary structure. He said this resulted in improved access to the lower courts only. Justice Hungwe also welcomed a recent move by Alpha Media Holdings of establishing the office of an in-house Ombudsman that will offer dispute resolution to handle complaints against reportages by newspapers in the stable. “This is commendable as it shows initiative regarding practical steps for redress to the public which is a redress that is cost effective in that a complainant does not need to have a deep pocket for his or her complaint to be fairly resolved,” said Justice Hungwe. Justice Hungwe said the High Court circuit in Mutare is filled with murder trials. The opening of the High court circuit was attendant by members in the legal fraternity in Manicaland province.