Leave us out of your wars – magistrates tell prosecutors

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GWERU — The president of the Magistrates’ Association of Zimbabwe, Vakai Douglas Chikwekwe, has urged striking prosecutors and law officers to stop dragging the association’s name in their collective bargaining process.

Public prosecutors have been on strike since last week demanding to be paid on a similar scale as magistrates, claiming they held similar qualifications.
Zimbabwe Law Officers’ Association (Ziloa) chairperson Leopold Mudisi claimed they held similar qualifications as magistrates and should therefore be on the same salary scale.

But, Chikwekwe said: “We sympathise with prosecutors for calling for a salary increment, but they must stop mudslinging and using us as a decoy in their plight.”

Prosecutors fall under the Public Service Commission while magistrates are under the Judicial Services Commission. “Prosecutors need to fight for their own cause and not to hook their trailer on our bus. We fall under different employers and the idea of involving our name by Ziloa is totally unacceptable. We got a salary increment like any other civil servant and it was not only us,” Chikwekwe said.

Although he admitted prosecutors held the same qualifications as magistrates, he said the two had different responsibilities.

“Prosecutors are designated on specific court cases which differ with magistrates. Magistrates bear tasks of presiding over cases, marriages, execute judgments after trials, administration and also responsibilities over the premises lie in their hands.

“Magistrates embarked on a strike where names of prosecutors were not mentioned and now they think magistrates can be a yardstick in resolving the salary dispute with their employer. Anyone can be a prosecutor, but it is impossible for anyone to be a magistrate,” he said.