Home » Governance » Legal Icon Chitepo Saluted

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has honoured the late liberation hero and first black barrister in the country Cde Herbert Chitepo, describing him as one of the greatest lawyers the country has ever had. Addressing lawyers at the Joint Bar — Judiciary end of term colloquium held recently in Vumba, the head of Judiciary said the late Cde Chitepo was his legal hero and that he greatly contributed to the development of the law in Zimbabwe.

“For me, Herbert Chitepo was and is my hero. Not only did he have a brilliant legal mind, but he also used his legal knowledge to help and aance the interests of his people.

“He was a man who inspired many of us to follow the legal profession in spite of the challenges that bedevilled that profession before Independence,” he said.

The judge said Cde Chitepo was a legal and political icon, who had to get a special permit to practice in Rhodesia, which was then a white man’s land.

“Allow me, Ladies and Gentlemen, to take this opportunity to acknowledge this great son of Zimbabwe. I have no doubt in my mind that Herbert Chitepo was both a political and legal icon.

“His reputation as a politician has tended to overshadow his reputation as the great lawyer that he was,” he said.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku said the practice of law before independence used to be the preserve for the whites and the environment was not conducive for black lawyers.

“I enrolled for the Law degree in 1968. Upon my enrolment, I was told in no uncertain terms by those who used to run the Law School that it was ill-aised for a black man to join the Law School. I was told that a black man’s temperament and background were not ideal for the absorption of legal concepts and that there were no employment prospects for black lawyers,” he said.

The judiciary chief urged lawyers to put up good arguments in court for the development of law in the country and to achieve real justice.

“My experience over the years has shown that good arguments in a complex case usually result in a good judgment in the matter.

“Poor representation, while not necessarily resulting in miscarriage of justice, clearly has the effect of increasing the burden on the judicial officer to discern the issue at stake and the applicable law without the assistance of counsel.

“This may lead to delayed judgments in some instances,” he said.

The judge hailed the relations between the judiciary and Law Society of Zimbabwe saying it will go a long way in improving the quality of justice in the country.

Source : The Herald