ASSESSING THE JUSTICE DELIVERY MANDATE OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION IN ZIMBABWE’S CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
James Tsabora1 and Shamiso Mtisi2
The judicial service commission has emerged as one of the most integral institutions in constitutional and democratic states that respect the ideals of the rule of law and constitutionalism. As an institution therefore, a judicial service commission is a critical functionary in a constitutional state; it oils the wheels and fuels the engine of justice. Its integrity and status in a constitutional democracy derives, not only from the nature of its mandate, but also from the manner of its constitution, composition, appointment and most importantly, the scope of its powers. Generally, the mandate of the judicial service commission is to promote judicial independence, which is a fundamental facet in ensuring the rule of law and constitutionalism. Indeed, important debates on the rule of law and constitutionalism have invariably included the contribution of judicial institutional systems in the promotion or erosion of the rule of law and democracy in a constitutional society. Such debates necessarily take new twists and turns with the substitution of a constitutional framework by another.
This article explores the constitutional mandate of Zimbabwe’s Judicial Service Commission, and makes the finding that this Commission is vital in the promotion of judicial independence, in safeguarding democracy, and in entrenching constitutionalism in Zimbabwe. It further observes that in view of Zimbabwe’s long road to democracy and judicial independence, the Commission can only be applauded and given time to consolidate its true status and position in Zimbabwe’s justice administration system.
1 James Tsabora LLB (University of Zimbabwe), LLM (University of KwaZulu-Natal) PhD Law (Rhodes University); Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Midlands State University, Gweru.
2 Shamiso Mtisi LLB (University of Zimbabwe), LLM Cand. (Midlands State University), Head of Programs, Zimbabwe Environ- mental Lawyers Association, Harare.