REX MPHISA –
HARARE – Zim Mail – Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba on Wednesday said rampant corruption and maladministration in public institutions and other arms of government undermined government efforts to ensure human rights were enjoyed by all Zimbabweans.
He said although the Zimbabwean government had made significant strides towards ensuring that human rights were enjoyed in the country, institutionalised corruption thwarted those efforts by the state and there was need to fight that corruption.
Malaba, who was the guest of honour at the national commemoration of the International Human Rights Day held in Bulawayo, also implored all Zimbabweans to respect their Constitution.
“There is no reason for people writing good statements in the Constitution and not adhering to them. We should respect and uphold our Constitution,” he told about a thousand people who thronged Bulawayo’s amphitheatre where the celebrations were held under the theme Human Rights 365.
“We still have corruption and maladministration and such practices are inconsistent with human rights and this undermines government efforts to have these rights enjoyed by society,” he said.
The judge, who spoke soon after a scintillating performance by Umkhathi Theatre Group which had an act on a cross-section of corruptive tendencies by those in public offices, put aside his prepared speech and told the crowd he was in total agreement with the arts group.
“I don’t know if it was by design that I speak after the play by these guys but I totally agree with them, somethings they mentioned are how human rights are violated,” he said.
The group presented a play against the installation of pre-paid water metres, accused teachers of hiding behind extra lessons to corruptly take parents’ hard-earned cash, accused police of putting up fake roadblocks to induce people into paying them bribes among many other methods to fleece the public by officials.
Malaba said as long as someone was exercising their right and not interfering with those of the next person they should be free to express themselves.
“I am saying if someone decides to demonstrate and does not inconvenience the next person by doing that he/she should be allowed to do so,” said Malaba.
Malaba also spoke strongly against the abuse of women and children and said society should collectively educate each other on what human rights are.
He said incidences where women and children were physically abused were worrying.
“We should not leave the job of educating people on human rights to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission alone but we must play our part and teach each other. It must not be left to the courts alone,” said Malaba.
He said police duties were to protect the rights of people and they were not supposed to torture suspects.
“As long as those people who are supposed to protect our rights understand their role first, we will enjoy our rights,” said Malaba.
He said human rights were the recognition of dignity, liberty and equality before the law.