Court halts Chief Justice interviews

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CONFUSION over interviews for the Chief Justice position reigned supreme yesterday, after the High Court granted an order halting the process, but the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) plans to appeal the ruling and will meet today to decide the way forward.

EVERSON MUSHAVA

The order follows an application by a fourth year University of Zimbabwe law student, Romeo Zibani, to have the public interviews suspended challenging the composition of the selection panel.

Zibani approached the High Court to compel Justice minister and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to amend section 180 of the Constitution to allow President Robert Mugabe to directly appoint the new Chief Justice.

Alternatively, Zibani wanted the public interviews to be conducted by an independent commission arguing the four nominees — Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Judicial Service Commission secretary, Justice Rita Makarau (pictured), Justice Paddington Garwe and Judge President George Chiweshe — compromised the JSC process.

Zibani’s challenge was also bolstered by an affidavit filed by the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry permanent secretary, Virginia Mabhiza calling for the suspension of the interviews, arguing that the Constitution was being amended to allow Mugabe to hand-pick the Chief Justice.

High Court judge, Justice Charles Hungwe granted Zibani’s plea, adding he would give his reasons today.
“The provincial order is granted in terms of the amended draft,” Hungwe ruled.

Zibani’s lawyer, Sylvester Hashiti, said the interdict has been granted pending the finalisation of the motion to amend section 180 of the constitution.

However, JSC last night said it would note an appeal, which would suspend the interdict.

“The commission will be meeting on Monday (today) to decide whether to proceed with the interviews, as scheduled in light of the above developments or postpone the interviews pending determination of the appeal by the Supreme Court,” the JSC said in a statement.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The JSC comprises a whole bunch of legal minds! Lets see how they deal with this matter because this lawsuit was a shot from the blue and they never expected it!! My problem is the issue of the President being given power to appoint the chief justice and this affidavit from the ministry of justice which seems to bolster this idea. Reminds me of a hidden hand pulling the strings especially when i recall the Mawarire case which “forced” the president to call for the 2013 elections.(someone in zanu was pulling the strings-ironical that mawarire is now in opposition!!). Another article in the Standard newspaper alleges it is the hand of Mnangagwa behind the ministry of justice affidavit in view of the fact that he (mnangagwa) sees himself being president sooner or later and he can appoint his choice-(remember Eddison Zvogbo) amending the constitution and crafting the executive presidency changes with himself in mind!! Ah well history tends to repeat itself hey!

  2. Yes you could be right Ephraime.The urgency that has been given to this case speaks volumes.There definitely is a hidden hand behind the scenes.this young man is just a front for the real bulls that are fighting.The idea of the president handpicking a Chief Justice is not a brilliant one.

  3. musanyeperane varume imi,so are u saying if these interviews had proceeded it would be transparent.this judicial service comission has its pay master who is the president and nomatter under what circumstance,the president has the most influence in ths selection process much to the extend that the one he wants to ascent will be elevated to the position.saka garwe haana nyaya apa

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