“On this concern, it should be noted that judicial independence is a function of a number of inter-related elements other than the procedure of appointment alone, which procedure has not been done away with in the appointment of the whole bench, the rest of the judges still have to go through a process of interviews as in the current Constitution, but just three of the members of the judiciary, by virtue of it being a means of curing an administrative mischief that may potentially occur.
“Fundamentally, the Constitution has other adequate mechanisms that guarantee judicial independence to advance and secure the integrity of the bench from all forms of interference.
“These range from their fitness and properness, their qualifications, integrity, probity, moral, character and impartiality; there are dismissal procedures and remuneration and those are the safeguards that safeguard the independence of the Judiciary.
“We must also remember that whilst we hold premium the principle of the independence of the judiciary, it should be noted that as an arm of government, the judiciary is an independent but interrelated and interdependence sphere of the government machinery that can only survive when it interlocks with other organs through the lenses of an equally celebrated principle of checks and balances.
“Surely, the judiciary cannot exist in an island or in a vacuum because if that notion of its existence as a vacuum was true, surely the President would not be even allowed to play even a single role in the appointment process as is the case across jurisdictions worldwide.”
Mnangagwa’s full statement:
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me at the outset to pay tribute to all the Hon. Members who have contributed to the debate generated by my Second Reading Speech on Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 1, 2017. I was encouraged by the application of their minds on the pros and cons of this Bill pertaining to the appointment procedure of the Chief Justice of the country in future. An extent which that will enhance the administration of justice and improve access to justice by our people and of course, the need to bring more clarity to Section 174 by providing an explicit provision to effect that the Labour Court and the Administrative Court are subordinate to the High Court.
Mr. Speaker, you may recall that in the second paragraph of my Second Reading Speech, I emphasised that the constitutional framework for judicial independence in any jurisdiction is paramount in determining the quality of justice delivery, access to justice and administration of justice. I also highlighted that these aspects are indeed intricately linked to the procedure of appointment of Heads of Judiciary and other Judges. Such appointments must be executed in a manner that does not compromise the constitutional, legislative, administrative values and etiquette expected of such crucial officials.
Continued next page