By Tendai Matunhu
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged Lawyers to shun corruption as it stains the country’s post-independence and impoverishes the society.
Whilst officially opening this year’s SADC Annual Lawyers’ Conference and General Meeting (ACGM), which is being held in Victoria Falls, President Mnangagwa said, “Corruption, itself an antithesis of justice, has left a stain on our post-independence. The age of impunity must come to an end, however, painful the fight against corruption may be. Corrupt officials do not only enrich themselves, they also impoverish society, particularly the vulnerable.”
President Mnangagwa urged lawyers to be ready for transformation and cautioned lawyers against opinionatedly thinking their way. He urged legal professionals to uphold the rule of law, constitutionalism and ensure that the law facilitates the empowerment of ordinary people to manage resources in their respective countries. President Mnangagwa said weak institutions were known to undermine rule of law and justice delivery.
A lawyer by profession, President Mnangagwa said legal counsel, especially to national governments, should always be honestly tendered, but mindful of national interest.
He said the law must remain an instrument of development and that the current generation of SADC leaders are keen to entrench rights and constitutionalism which it fought for. President Mnangagwa reminded lawyers that the study of jurisprudence lays bare claims to independence by institutions, stressing institutions remain accountable, one way or the other.
He warned lawyers to be aware of the global web, meaning that lawyers should not maroon themselves from unfolding discourse on global matters and agreements, both of which continue to impinge on national development and prospects.
President Mnangagwa, however, expressed concern over the cost of legal services in Zimbabwe, saying this was threatening justice delivery and access to justice for all. He said legal practitioners had a role in peace-building and realization of economic justice.
The meeting is running under the theme, “Supporting Strong Institutions for Equal Access to Justice for All.” President Mnangagwa has made rule of law and strict adherence to ethical conduct key pillars of his Administration citing his fight against corruption. The meeting comes just a week before the SADC Summit opens in Dar es Salaam.