By Patience Nyagato
Alignment of the Legal Aid Act with the constitution to allow for the free legal representation of vulnerable groups, came under spotlight when stakeholders in the legal fraternity met in Harare this Thursday.
Stakeholders met to come up with a Legal Aid Amendment Bill which will ensure the provision of legal aid to the less-privileged, including children and people with disabilities.
Dr James Tsabora of the Center For Applied Legal Research noted: “A legal aid directorate from constitution will serve the less fortunate of the society those who cannot afford. The thinking of the parly then was that most of Zimbabweans are poor so let is represent them. One of the challenges is quality of representation being given.”
“We want to achieve constitutional objective of access to justice and create offices to give legal service to all in all parts of Zimbabwe. We can make strategies to make sure children, people with disabilities to access to justice,” Deputy Director Legal Aid Directorate in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, John Nyangombe said.
“You find that you are coming in with legal knowledge and facing someone who do not even understand the law. So, the issue of legal aid is very important so that you are at equal level when you are in the court of law,” said Public Prosecutor, Terrence Mukuze.
Meanwhile, government has been offering legal assistance through the Legal Aid Directorate in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.