By Fungai Lupande
Chief magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe swore in four new magistrates at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Friday, bringing to 209 the number of judicial officers countrywide.
The four are Rumbidzai Stephanie Dzumbira, Nyasha Marufu, Joshua Mawere and Edith Kakuruwo. Mr Guvamombe said there were vacancies for 41 more magistrates across the country.
“Your coming into this office is timely since we need more hands to deal with the ever-increasing workload,” said Mr Guvamombe.
“Lately, we had challenges with some magistrates refusing to work outside Harare and Bulawayo. We have 52 resident courts in the country manned by magistrates and I will not be part to a conspiracy to deny citizens access to justice,” he said.
“My deployment will be guided by where work is and you will be deployed accordingly.”
Mr Guvamombe urged the new magistrates to make decisions guided by law and not social standing, creed or colour.
“Your job is not to please anyone but to interpret the law and do justice between man and man. Do not rush to incarcerate people for trivial offences; imprisonment should be the last resort.
“Only imprison those who deserve to go to jail,” he said. “As you go to your new workstations, I urge you to take good care of all the resources made available to you including vehicles, computers and library materials.”
Mr Guvamombe advised the four to consult their peers, the library and case laws and make decisions supported by law. “There is no monopoly to legal knowledge, when you consult the answers you receive will guide you to make better decisions,” he said.
“Do not prowl in the dark. Even in the middle of proceedings you are allowed to adjourn and seek guidance. Complaints are a vital tool which uses feedback on our operations but they must be legitimate and based on facts,” he said.
“Of late we are receiving complaints calculated to influence the magistrate’s decision. Magistrates must never yield to such mechanism.” Mr Guvamombe took a swipe at corruption and advised court users to desist from influencing magistrates through bribes.