By Anyway Yotamu
Judicial Service Commission (JCS) yesterday celebrated 10 years of existence, since formation as well as the Open day under the theme “Transparency and accountability.”
Addressing journalists in Harare to mark the day, Head of Corporate Communication Affairs in the Judicial Service Commission, Ms. Rumbidzai Takawira said the Open Day is a reflection of how democratic and transparent the courts are.
“The theme of transparency and accountability requires the Commission to open itself and its operations to public scrutiny. It necessarily means that the Judiciary must open itself to allow Zimbabweans to appreciate how the courts function.
“Therefore, the Commission took the unconventional route to reserve a day on which members of the public will be allowed access to the courts, not for purposes of litigating, but to understand the functions of each court in terms of the law,” she said.
Speaking at the same occasion, JSC, Deputy Secretary for Legal Services, Faith Mushure said the commission has managed to improve the quality of the judiciary service through having more courts dotted around the country.
“What we have done over the last 10 years is to take justice to the people. We are saying we want people to access justice hence we have expanded our courts.
“We have professionalized some of our offices. Previously, we had the Master, the Sheriff, and the Registrar of the High Court. It was one person who previously did that but we have since separated those offices and we now have stand-alone offices and those offices are now manned by legally qualified persons,” she said.
She added that the move is to ensure that there is distribution of justice, which the country deserves.
“Some of our courts were sitting at the District Administrator’s office, while another one in Esigodini was actually in a shop and we have managed to build at least 30 courts over the last 10 years throughout the country and we have an expansion program that’s currently ongoing in Gwanda, Lupane, in Chinhoyi and Mt Darwin as well as the expansion drive at Epworth where we are going to establish a court there,” said Mushure.
Open days for the Judiciary are an international best practice. Many jurisdictions use them as a tool to cultivate relations between themselves and the public; to measure the effectiveness of their operations, and to get important feedback from the public and stakeholders.