Mashudu Netsianada, Senior Court Reporter
CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba has urged judicial officers to desist from compromising judicial standards through engaging in underhand dealings likely to bring the name of the country’s justice system into disrepute.
Speaking during a farewell party in honour of retired Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha on Friday night at a local hotel, CJ Malaba said judicial officers should strive to uphold the value of hard work, reliability and unwavering dedication to the cause of justice and judicial integrity.
“There is no compromise on judicial integrity and we are saying every person who is a judge is appointed on the understanding that he or she upholds those value systems, which is an essence of a judge. The role of the courts in any country is to ensure that the guarantees of the freedom of the people under the rule of law and that role of the court demands of every judicial officer, competency, hard work, integrity, independence and impartiality,” he said.
CJ Malaba commended Justice Kamocha for his dedication and outstanding contribution to the country’s judiciary through his career spanning 47 years.
“We are actually here to celebrate the achievements of Justice Kamocha as a judge and as a citizen of this country. We recognise and acknowledge publicly that he is an embodiment of high values which we cherish so dearly. We could have let Justice Kamocha retire and disappear into oblivion, but we found it necessary for us to honour him in this fashion on his retirement,” he said.
CJ Malaba said Justice Kamocha was one of the judges who had the propensity of disposing of cases expeditiously. “He never delayed cases during his tenure of service as a High Court judge. He upheld the value of hard work, reliability, unwavering dedication to the cause of justice, honesty and judicial integrity,” he said.
CJ Malaba said Justice Kamocha retired from the bench at a time when the judiciary in this country had embarked on a rigorous programme of ensuring speedy delivery of quality justice to citizens.
He said a judicial officer should be able to draw the balancing line between the exercise by the State or Government of the power under the law to govern people for the common good and the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens.
CJ Malaba said the retired judge was the epitome of dedication to public service who rose through the ranks to the high echelons of the judiciary on merit.
“I urge judicial officers to emulate Justice Kamocha’s values. He has had a long career as an administrator, magistrate, judicial officer, prosecutor and judge and we therefore accord the respect to him because he deserves that respect for his sterling contribution to the judiciary,” he said.
“Dedication is a highest measure of selflessness and surrendering yourself to higher values and suppressing that devil in you, which is called selfishness. It is the highest measure of understanding the institutional interests not the individual self interest.”
Justice Kamocha retired on November 15 last year upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of 70 in terms of section 186 (2) of the constitution. He retired from the High Court bench after serving the judiciary for 47 years. He joined the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on September 1, 1970 as a court interpreter. — @mashnets