BY JAMES MUONWA
Finalisation of construction of a multi-million dollar composite Chinhoyi Magistrates’ Courts is expected to be complete by July this year, almost 20 years after work commenced on the site.
Work at the gigantic single-storey building, situated in the town’s central business district, had stalled, ostensibly due to lack of money and had turned into a “ghost structure”.
During a tour of the building on Tuesday, Chief Justice Luke Malaba expressed satisfaction over progress so far made towards finalisation of the project, which was contracted to a Chinese firm, Hualong Construction.
Construction re-started following the coup that ushered in President Emmerson Mnangagwa into office.
Malaba took potshots at his erstwhile benefactor and former President Robert Mugabe for abandoning the project mid-way, hinting the nonagenarian leader’s government’s priorities were misplaced.
He waxed lyrical in praise of Mnangagwa’s administration, saying it was focused towards delivering equitable justice to all Zimbabweans, as enshrined in the Constitution, by providing funding to see the project through.
“Look, it’s not about the money being available, but it’s about getting priorities right. If you place your priorities wrong, like what was the norm in the past (in apparent reference to Mugabe), then you will have key strategic buildings like these being neglected over selfish personal interests.
“The new administration is committed to seeing this building complete and as JSC (Judicial Service Commission), we are grateful for the support it is rendering. This gives us the impetus to ensure its completion for the betterment of humanity,” Malaba, who was accompanied by JSC secretary Walter Chikwanha, provincial magistrate Tayengwa Chibanda and other top government officials, said.
The chief justice said due to its spaciousness and ambience, the court had potential to host upper courts such as the High, Labour and Constitutional courts.
The court house, when complete, will consist of 53 offices, eight courtrooms, four kitchens, eight holding cells, four detention cells, a library, a strong room, including service and prison yards.