CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba yesterday officially separated the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) from the Supreme Court.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Addressing guests at the ConCourt premises in Harare, Malaba said the event marks a new era in the judicial services which guarantee democratic constitutional stability and prevent constitutional mandates from being eroded.
He said the ConCourt would be constituted by judges separate from the judges of the Supreme Court.
“The objective of the defence of the Constitutional Court in any society is a transition to democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law,” Malaba said.
“The Constitutional Court is the apex of the structural hierarchy of the courts vested with judicial authority to be exercised for the purposes of protecting and advancing the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.”
Malaba said the establishment of a tribunal with a specific function of guarding the Constitution was an expression of deep commitment to constitutionalism.
“The establishment of the highest court in the land whose sole jurisdiction is to hear and determine a matter requiring interpretation, protection, promotion and enforcement of the Constitution makes such a court the heart of the nation. It plays an important role in the consolidation of the rule of law,” he said, adding that the ConCourt was the only tribunal with the power to nullify an unconstitutional law or conduct of the President or Parliament.
“The Constitutional Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine validity of the electoral process leading to the appointment of a president, to hear and determine disputes relating to whether or not a person is qualified to hold office of vice-president and to determine whether Parliament or the president has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation.”
Speaking at the event, Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi said: “The National Prosecuting Authority must, therefore, act in accordance with the law and perform its duties fairly, competently, consistently and expeditiously.
“We are, therefore, cognisant of the fact that the Constitutional Court will call us back to line if we abuse the power that has been reposed in us.”
The Law Society of Zimbabwe said the legal profession was hopeful that the court would now dedicate its time, energy and resources to developing jurisprudence on constitutional and related matters.