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Judiciary crippled
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
January 16, 2007

In her opening remarks on this year's judiciary year, Justice Rita Makarau revealed that the previous year was one of the worst years ever in the history of the country. Justice Makarau revealed that the High Court failed to travel to Masvingo to attend a waterloo of cases, the majority of which are more than two years old. In August 2006, Masvingo had 104 murder cases which were awaiting trial.

Justice Makarau also exposed sad and unfortunate revelations of how the witnesses are accorded Z$5.00 for their lunch allowances. She argued that the money is an insult to the witnesses in particular and the judiciary system in general. She called upon the government to scrap off the fees if it does not have adequate funding rather than insult the witnesses by such a paltry lunch allowance, a match box is costing 100 dollars. This implies that the lunch allowance for the witnesses is 0.05% compare to the value of a match box. What then can these people buy from such an insignificant figure?

Writing in the Zimbabwe Independent in June last year, the enigma economist Eric Bloch argued that this government is a stranger to reality. He was commenting to the blurred assertion by the then Minister of Labour and Social Welfare's utterances that the Zimbabwean unemployment rate was pegged at 9%. The allowances are a further indication that the authorities are still distanced from reality, its an indication that common sense is not that common especially in the government circles.

She also took a swipe at the general collapse of every component of our economy as she rightfully argued that Zimbabweans have been very resilient in finding alternatives to the rampant shortages in the economy but justice and the judiciary have got no substitute. She said, "I wonder how many of us here present have really given thought to the importance of an efficient and impartial justice delivery system when shortages of certain grocery items manifest in the local supermarkets, we shop in neighbouring countries. We have managed to avoid what we perceive as shortcomings in the local educational system by sending our children to schools in South Africa, United States of America, Australia and the United Kingdom. We need complex medical procedures and attention that the local hospitals cannot provide, we fly mainly to South Africa but sometimes to the United Kingdom or the United States. Yet when we have to sue for wrongs done to us, we cannot do so in Australia or South Africa and have to contend with the inadequately funded justice system in this country."

The Coalition can not agree with any further with her sentiments. It is high time the government starts to address issues of national relevance and stop this child play of wishing things will solve themselves. The judiciary is an important pillar in this country and therefore should be treated as such.

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