Prominent human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa has said that the justice system in Zimbabwe is deliberately denying justice to people arrested for being part of the Shutdown Zimbabwe protests.
Speaking at the magistrates’s court this week, Mtetwa said the justice system is deliberately stretching the human rights lawyers to ensure the majority of the people are denied justice. Magistrates are also refusing to heat bail applications, yet not many people can afford to ire lawyers to escalate their case to the high court for bail.
The question is why are magistrates, who have traditionally respected all these rights, suddenly doing the same? The magistrate in Goromonzi is doing exactly the same as the magistrate in Rusape, who’s doing exactly the same as a magistrate in Tsholotsho and Lupane and the same as all the magistrates here are doing. Is that just a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that all of them are refusing to hear bail applications? Can a magistrate refuse to hear a bail application? Under what law? They can’t! But they are all refusing to hear bail applications. So there can be no questions that the Judicial Services Commission is currently presiding over a system that does not fit the purpose for which our consititution was designed.