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Officially opening the Hwange High Court session here yesterday, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva bemoaned moral decay in society.
Seven out of 11 murder cases set down for trial at the Hwange Circuit were committed by people abusing alcohol.
“Eleven murder cases have been set down and seven of these were committed after alcohol abuse by accused persons. This is a worrying trend as people are butchered at business centres where they will have gone to make merry with friends and relatives,” he said.
“What is more worrying is that the murders are committed brazenly in full view of witnesses.
“Dangerous weapons like axes, knives, knobkerries and iron bars are used to inflict fatal injuries targeting the head and chest.”
Justice Takuva also bemoaned an upsurge in drug abuse saying it was leading to violent behaviour.
“According to psychiatrists, there has been an undeniable upsurge in illicit drug use in Zimbabwe and this has directly or indirectly led to an increase in mental health issues,” he said.
The judge said some of the substances being abused include Broncleer also known as bronco, cannabis, maragada, diazepam, musombodia, steroids, tegu-tegu, zed and tetankau.
“Drugs cause a lot of excitement in those who abuse them and leads to violent behaviour among other effects,” said Justice Takuva.
The judge said most young people who abuse drugs often have social, family, academic and violence-related challenges.
He called for strategies that address drug abuse among all age groups.
Justice Takuva slammed corruption saying it was a cancer the country can’t afford to fold its hands on while it prevails as it scares away investors.
“The judiciary plays a key role in the administration of justice. This role is thrust on it by the constitution which requires judges to exercise judicial power and functions impartially, promptly and in a manner that embraces public confidence.
“It appears that there is a perception that Zimbabwe is past the tipping point and heading to a point of no return with regards to corruption. In my view, it’s not so deep that we can’t do anything about it anymore and we as Zimbabweans mustn’t pay lip service to corruption but concentrate on ways of getting rid of it,” he said.
“We can’t afford to give up and let this evil win. If everyone plays their part we can win. Indeed humanity will judge us harshly if we were to surrender and allow the country to be devoured by this cancer.
“It’s been said that corruption is a cancer that erodes a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation, creativity and scares away both foreign direct and domestic investment”.
Justice Takuva also called for stiffer measures against poachers saying the country was fast losing wildlife to illegal hunters.
The Hwange High Court Circuit opening ceremony started with a procession from the Magistrates’ Court to the social centre led by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Band.
Justice Takuva then inspected a quarter guard mounted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police before his address.
Present were Chiefs Shana, Whange, Nekatambe and Dingane-Nelukoba all from Hwange district, service chiefs, prosecutors, magistrates, lawyers and Judicial Services Commission staff as well as company executives, heads of government departments and officials from Hwange and Victoria Falls local authorities.Leonard Ncube chronicle