ZIMBABWE could have its first female Chief Justice by next year, as the race to succeed Godfrey Chidyausiku has narrowed down to four candidates and legislative watchdog, Veritas believes Rita Makarau may have a slight advantage going into the interviews.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The other candidates in the race are Deputy Chief Justice, Luke Malaba, Supreme Court Judge, Paddington Garwe and Judge President, George Chiweshe.
Veritas notes that all the three men in the race have been career judicial officers, unlike Makarau, who also has private practice experience.
“She formed her own law firm in 1994, and remained in private practice until raised to the High Court bench in 2000, which makes her the only one of the four candidates with hands-on experience in private legal practice.”
Veritas said of Makarau.
Malaba was a public prosecutor for three years before he joined the bench as a magistrate and then rose through the ranks, while Garwe began as a magisterial assistant in 1978, and worked as a clerk of court and prosecutor before being appointed magistrate in February 1980.
Chiweshe started as a prosecutor in 1980 and later completed his legal studies at the University of Zimbabwe. In 1983 he joined the Zimbabwe National Army, where he served in the directorate of legal services and became its head and Judge Advocate General in 1996.
The four will appear at public interviews to be held in the capital on December 12.
Meanwhile, Veritas has noted with concern that there are two vacancies on the Judicial Services Commission that have not been filled.
Veritas said: “The two JSC vacancies are puzzling, and have existed all along. The missing members are a professor or senior lecturer of law designated by an association representing the majority of the teachers of law at Zimbabwean universities or, in the absence of such an association, appointed by the President and a person with at least seven years’ experience in human resources management, appointed by the President.
The organisation said the delay in filling the vacancies was a matter that the minister of Justice should explain.