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Former judge Mutambanengwe dies


FORMER High Court judge and ex-Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe has died. He was 87.


Family spokesperson and son of the late judge, Tumai, confirmed the death of the top jurist and war veteran. He said Mutambanengwe died yesterday morning in Namibia, where he was a judge of the Supreme Court.

“It’s true he is no more. He died this morning at Paramount Hospital in Namibia,” Tumai said.

He said his father had been unwell for some time resulting in him being in and out of hospital in recent months.

“He was unwell for quite some time, he was in and out of hospital, but we never thought it would end up like this,” Tumai said.

Mutambanengwe started his legal career as an independent lawyer in 1979 until 1986 when he was appointed High Court judge. In 1994 he was appointed to the Namibian High Court.

Mutambanengwe also served on the Supreme Court of Namibia, both as acting Chief Justice and after his retirement and several times as acting Judge of Appeal.

After the formation of the unity government in 2009, he was appointed as Zec chairperson in 2010 and resigned shortly before the country held its constitutional referendum in 2013.

Politically, Mutambanengwe was a key figure in the Nhari rebellion in 1974, and known for his outspokenness and independent judgments on various courts.

Born in Mutare in 1930, Mutambanengwe attended school at Mutambara Mission and Goromonzi after which he worked as a teacher.

He studied English and History at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1959. He then studied law at the Inner Temple, in London and became an advocate in 1963. After practicing law there until 1964, he returned to Rhodesia, working as an advocate until 1979. During that time he also served as Zanu secretary for foreign affairs.

He is survived by his wife, Julian, three sons and 10 grandchildren.

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