Govt defiance of court orders now ‘endemic’

Blessing Zulu

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have raised concern over the defiance of court orders by the government and called for respect for the country’s laws.



ce=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>In a press statement last week, ZLHR said the situation was getting out of hand.


“Defiance of court orders has become endemic in Zimbabwe and it is an issue that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Godfrey Chidyausiku, Judge President of the High Court Paddington Garwe, and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa must do something about if the integrity of the courts and the justice system is to be protected,” ZLHR said.


The police defied four court orders compelling them to vacate the offices of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ). It was only after the fifth order on Wednesday this week that they eventually left. Last week police also defied a High Court order to release Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa. He was only released after the intervention of the Supreme Court.


Constitutional law expert Dr Lovemore Madhuku said the executive must be held accountable.


“Chinamasa’s (suggested) sta-tement condemning the defiance of court orders will certainly carry more weight,” said Madhuku.


Madhuku said judges must speak out strongly against the disregard of court orders.


“Judges Chidyausiku and Garwe must also come out strongly against the continued defiance of court orders. It must be noted that a court is a court when its orders are enforced, otherwise it becomes irrelevant. If there is total silence it means they are in agreement,” he said.


Chinamasa said he was not in a position to comment.


“I am on leave until the end of the month,” said Chinamasa.

“You can talk to the Acting Minister of Justice, Cde Paul Mangwana,” he said.