Stakeholders in the justice delivery system have hailed the 2018 legal year address by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying it sets the tone for a promising judicial year.

Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi (R) chats with Senate President Edna Madzongwe.

The 16-page speech, which took the Chief justice up 70 minutes to read, was pregnant with important issues.Although it mainly centred on the need to promote access to justice for all, the speech touched on other important issues including corruption, welfare of judicial officers, creation of specialised courts, performance of the courts, shortage of magistrates among others.

Prosecutor General Advocate Ray Goga hailed the Chief Justice for a positive and well-thought speech.

“The speech was mainly hinged on an important aspect of access to justice and everything that followed was consistent with that theme. He explained what access to justice means. He demonstrated what JSC is doing and will do to achieve access to justice for all. It was a very positive and well thought speech, from both a philosophical and practical standpoint,” he said.

Attorney General Adv Prince Machaya said the speech was inspiring and gave hope for a better legal year.

“It was an inspiring speech and the factual details that he put out, is the kind of information that the public has been waiting to hear. Overall, I think it was a good opening and the year will turn out as good as last year, if not better,” said Adv Machaya.

The dean of Law at the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University Mr Caleb Mucheche welcomed the speech saying it brought hope for brighter legal year. “The speech was anchored on three pillars, which are, access to justice for all, affordable and effective justice. It really sets the tone for a promising 2018 legal year,” he said.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu said the Chief Justice’s speech was spot on.

“In my view, the Chief Justice has struck the right code in centring his address on the much needed access to justice theme. He has depicted the law and in depicting the entire legal system of being an instrument not just of redress, but of cognisant emancipation. He has, to that end, set up the infrastructure for the attainment of the much-needed fundamentals in line with the new dispensation,” said Adv Mpofu.

Harare lawyer and lawmaker Mr Jonathan Samukange said the Chief Justice’s speech was in the right direction.

“You have heard it from him. He is the captain of the judicial system and he will steer it to make sure that justice is available to every Zimbabwean. When you consider that we are going to have democratic elections, that is when you see that we need justice and that our Judiciary needs to dispense it. Without justice, there is no rule of law,” he said.

Law Society of Zimbabwe president Mr Misheck Hogwe showered accolades on the Chief Justice for fostering cooperation and cordial relations between the legal profession and the judiciary.

“As the legal profession, we have always engaged the Judiciary and it is important that the Chief Justice believes in such engagements. At the end of 2017, we had the Bar-Bench Colloquium where we discussed challenges facing the justice system and came up with possible solutions.

It was a no holds barred meeting where we freely interacted in an informal set-up,” he said.