UZ student bids to stop Chief Justice interviews

A FOURTH year University of Zimbabwe law student has approached the High Court, seeking to stop next week’s interviews for the soon-to-be-vacant Chief Justice position, arguing the process was unfair and was not transparent, in a case likely to shake the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

BY staff reporter

The student, Romeo Zibani, cited the JSC, President Robert Mugabe, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, his deputy, Justice Luke Malaba, Justice Paddington Garwe, Justice Rita Makarau and Judge President George Chiweshe, as the first to eighth respondents, respectively, in summons filed at the High Court last night.

Zibani, who is represented by Venturas and Samukange, said he was challenging the composition of the JSC panel set to interview the fifth to eight respondents.

He said the shortlisted candidates were either friends, colleagues or bosses of the interviewing panel and this could be best described as an “incestuous” relationship.

“Most of the members of the panel are junior to the four nominees, creating a most undesirable state of affairs that will actually destabilise the JSC and the due process,” the applicant said.

“In fact, the remaining members of the panel ought to be saved the agony of having to interview their own colleagues.”

Zibani said Malaba, as Chidyausiku’s deputy, was the JSC deputy chairperson, while Garwe was the outgoing Chief Justice’s “social friend” and they both came from the same district.

He said Makarau, the JSC secretary, had worked with Chidyausiku for six years and came from the same district as well.

Zibani further alleged that Chiweshe reported to Chidyausiku and this would make the interviews unfair.

“It is further important for me to set out the current procedure, which I believe is not suitable for the appointment of a Chief Justice, hence, the need to amend section 180 of the Constitution to allow His Excellency (Mugabe) to use his discretion and appoint a Chief Justice of his own,” he said.

Zibani said Mugabe could in the interim set up a panel of retired judges to be submitted to the JSC to pick the next Chief Justice, but the ultimate solution was the President choosing the top judge himself.

The JSC is represented by Addington Chinake of Kantor and Immerman, who was not reachable for comment last night.

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10 Comments

  1. kkk.
    thats good!
    everything should not be taken gor granted!

  2. You really have taken the bull by its horns. However I feel a commission can be set by the president to interview the judges and recommend to him the best candidate. Remember that’s the process that is followed when removing a judge.

  3. samero ero jekiseni

    hapana nyaya apa either way it is Mugabe who anoints the choice of the chief justice, so this students’ argument yakadakwa interview or not zvakangofanana, just look at the list of respondents they are serving judges and they are all zanu agents?sympathisers and I bet Mugabe had a hand in their rise

  4. The Judiciary being a separate pillar of state need not have one of its co- pillars to appoint it ie. the Presidency. That has always compromised its jurisdictions as been the case in many instances. A college of senior retired judges can conduct the interviews; another solution would be for serving Supreme Court and High Court judges to elect an incumbent Chief Justice by secret ballot or alternatively to have SADC Chief Justices to make up the interviewing panel.

  5. Very interesting lawsuit with lots of merit indeed. I however think your idea to have the president appoint the chief justice is not the best option unless that appointment is subjected to parliamentary and senate confirmations which unfortunately are not the best either by virtue of the poor oversight role of these institutions and the partisan nature coupled with the fact that the ruining/ruling party is the majority and we all know they would rubber stamp any presidential appointments. In light of this it is my opinion that a panel of retired judges and/ or zimbabwean judges working in other countries may conduct the interviews and make their recommendations to the president. This matter must be given time and serious thought because of the position at stake. Surely having a known political judge like Justice Chiweshe as one of the candidates is belittling the position.A look at some of his rulings would certainly put him to the sword.His recent ruling on the bond notes is a case in point. Luke malaba is ideal but he is ndebele (sadly thats a factor in this counrty especially for such an appointment) and he is due to retire in a few years as well.The other two eish its a bit worrying . Perhaps we need more candidates!!

  6. i agree with Ephraime but i think as the constituion went through refrendum an alteration of the constitutution has to go trogh the same proccess

  7. same chief justice for life. college of retired judges is out, because they are mentally tired.may God bless the judge presiding over this case.

  8. tendai chaminuka

    Ko to set a commission made up of our sadc comrades to do the job for us

  9. tendai chaminuka

    That is putting learning into practice.You must be heading a crucial department in the Ministry of Psycho Motor.whatever,Its an understatement to say you have taken the bull by its horns,you have actually taken the bull by what differentiate it from other mombes

  10. your idea was good at start but the decision at end is not at all furthermore tangai mapedza bambo munaona kugumira iapapa

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