Mutare hit by magistrates’ shortage

MANICALAND Provincial Affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa has bemoaned the shortage of magistrates in the province with courts in Mutare being run by three magistrates.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Mutsvangwa made the remarks at the official opening of the Mutare High Court recently where she lamented the long distances travelled by residents to seek justice.

“Allow me to register the province’s concern over shortage of magistrates. I am told there are only three magistrates at the Mutare Magistrates’ Court, including the provincial magistrate who is also involved in administrative work.

“The three court houses in Nyanga, Mutasa and Murambinda have two court rooms each, but only one magistrate, leaving the other court room idle, something we do not wish to happen as the majority of the cases of our people are heard at these courts,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Lastly, I want to lament the long distances travelled by people who want to seek court services and in Chimanimani they do not have a court and they travel long distances.”

In response, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga acknowledged the problems, saying government was aware and will work to correct the issue urgently.

“Yes, I am aware that there are challenges of staffing which occasionally receives assistance from Harare. I want the Justice ministry, in conjunction with the Finance ministry and the Judicial Service Commission to work towards solving this matter,” Chiwenga said.

The newly-opened High Court, which was formally a cinema house, becomes the fourth permanent High Court in the country after those in Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo.

Officials who attended the event said that the Mutare Magistrates’ Court needs at least seven magistrates.

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