Zimbabwe’s prosecutors urged to address rising backlog of cases


HARARE – During a Senate Session held at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden on Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was called upon to expedite its caseload in order to address a significant backlog and ensure the effective delivery of justice in the country.

National Prosecuting Authority Zimbabwe

The Senators debated a motion presented by the Ministry of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs on the performance of the NPA for the year ended 2022, emphasizing the need for the NPA to receive increased funding to carry out its duties without hindrance.

Senator Robson Mavenyengwa, a ZANU PF representative, stressed the vital role of the NPA in upholding law and order and urged the government to provide robust support to the authority, enabling it to overcome its numerous challenges and fulfill its responsibilities diligently.

Mavenyengwa acknowledged the inadequacies faced by the NPA, including insufficient resources and materials for its staff, which can impact the justice delivery system. 

He emphasized the importance of offering better remuneration to employees, curtailing the temptation to accept bribes from criminals.

The senator expressed concern about the extensive delays in prosecuting high-profile corruption cases, suggesting that it indicated a severe backlog of crimes that were not being prosecuted.

“If the courts are short staffed, Government must ensure that they employ more staff to ensure that the justice delivery system is carried out expeditiously. We realise that there are a lot of cases that are reported in this country but it takes too long for these cases to be finalised,” he said.

“There is the indication that prosecutors are also supposed to receive training from time to time so that they do their work diligently and expeditiously so that all cases are finalised. We encourage the Hon. Minister of Finance to look at the National Prosecuting Authority so that they carry out their work and finish their backlog.

“In some cases, even witnesses will end up forgetting the stories. I am saying National Prosecuting Authority is a very integral arm of Government. Investors come confidently in this country when they hear that criminal cases are prosecuted immediately and finalised.”

In conclusion, the senator expressed his support for the proposal that the NPA receives sufficient funds to carry out its duties effectively. 

He specifically mentioned Loice Matanda-Moyo, the current head of the authority, and encouraged her to address the backlog and expedite the resolution of cases.

Earlier this month, the NPA said it had begun implementing measures to reduce the backlog of over 16,000 cases.

Prosecutor-General Matanda-Moyo said the NPA has adopted a raft of measures aimed at addressing the mounting backlog of criminal cases at the courts.

“[These measures] include leveraging on the Integrated Electronic Case Management System. New technologies such as video conferencing and electronic filing are being introduced to streamline court processes and reduce delays. We are improving our case management practices to ensure cases are processed efficiently.”

She said that the NPA is also streamlining the movement of dockets between the NPA and investigating authorities, as well as within the NPA itself. Movement of dockets between stations will similarly be tracked in real time.

She added that cases will now be prioritised based on their seriousness, with factors that include the prevalence of the offence, as well as the accused person’s standing in society, beinfg considered when prioritising cases.

Further to this, Matanda-Moyo said there will be strict supervision and monitoring of each case to see if there is any progress as far as the trials are concerned for purposes of setting realistic deadlines and identifying potential bottlenecks.

Post a Comment