Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
Government has underlined its determination to fight corruption by inviting the top-notch Ugandan Anti-Corruption Court judge to train Zimbabwe’s judiciary, ahead of the establishment of the new anti-corruption courts.
Justice Lawrence Gidudu, who has been the Head of Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court for the past five years, is in the country to conduct a week-long training to be attended by judges, magistrates, prosecutors, anti-corruption investigators and police officers, among other stakeholders.
He is the third judge to head the special Ugandan ACC since it was established in 2008 as a special division of the High Court to try corruption and related cases.
Justice Gidudu’s training visit was announced by Chief Justice Luke Malaba during the official opening of the 2020 Legal Year, when he noted that Uganda had waged the war against corruption through its specialised anti-corruption courts over the last 10 years building up a wealth of experience in the field that Zimbabwe wanted to share.
In an interview yesterday, Judicial Service Commission (JSC) spokesperson Mr Brian Nkiwane confirmed the week long training workshop starting in Harare, today.
“Justice Gidudu of Uganda will conduct the training which will not be limited to our judges and magistrates only.
“Uganda has scored so many successes in as far as fighting corruption is concerned hence it was felt that we will benefit as a nation. The National Prosecuting Authority, members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, will all be trained.
“So tomorrow (today) morning, we will have the opening ceremony where we will have opening remarks from various heads of institutions,” said Mr Nkiwane.
In his address during the opening of the 2020 Legal Year, Chief Justice Malaba said the judiciary was pressing ahead with fighting corruption, which has been declared enemy number one by President Mnangagwa, as it is seen as the antithesis of the concepts of transparency and accountability.
The JSC has since made a decision to establish specialised anti-corruption courts at a higher level as part of measures to complement the Government’s call for all institutions to join hands in the corruption fight.
Presently, courtrooms for the anti-graft crusade are under renovation and judges have been appointed in Harare and Bulawayo.
Said Chief Justice Malaba: “After noting the strides that other jurisdictions have taken in setting up similar courts, I made contact with my counterpart, the Honourable Chief Justice of Uganda, to seek assistance in the professional development of local judicial officers.
“Uganda has been running specialised anti-corruption courts for the last 10 years. They have, as a jurisdiction, done exceptionally well in the adjudication of corruption related cases.
“I am positive that our judicial officers and other institutions involved in the fight against corruption will have a lot of lessons to draw from Uganda’s experiences.
“A judge in charge of the Uganda anti-corruption courts will be coming to Zimbabwe before the end of this month to share Uganda’s experiences with judges and magistrates.”
Already, a number of high profile people, including former Cabinet ministers such as former Tourism and Hospitality Minister Priscah Mupfumira, have been dragged before the courts to answer to corrpution allegations.