BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
The High Court has ruled against President Mnangagwa’s decision to extend Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s tenure by another five years highlighting that the decision was “illegal as it violated the Constitution”.
🔴The High Court has ruled that Chief Justice Luke Malaba's tenure has expired. Justice Zhou ruled – "In view of the decision that we have reached, Hon Malaba ceased being a judge and Chief Justice at 0000hrs on 15 May 2021." pic.twitter.com/g0YdcObRam
— The Standard Zim (@thestandardzim) May 15, 2021
Consequently, Malaba ceased to be Chief Justice yesterday the 15th of May when he turned 70.
The ruling which was delivered by three judges came after Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe (YLAZ) and Fred Mutanda challenged the move to extend Malaba’s tenure by another five years.
The court makes the following order
1. The CJ ceased to hold the as 15/15/21
2. Extension of the time provided for in Section 186 does not apply to CJ and any sitting but not acting Judges of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.
3. There shall be no order as to costs.
— Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe (YLAZ) (@YoungLawyersZW) May 15, 2021
Justices Happias Zhou, Edith Mushore and Helena Charehwa ruled that all incumbent judges of the senior courts could not benefit from an amendment to the Constitution allowing extension of term limits beyond retirement age.
The judges said there has to be a public referendum before all current judges of the senior courts can benefit from the constitutional amendment, which was not effected in this case.
BREAKING: The High Court has declared that Luke Malaba is no long the Chief Justice or a judge.
Remarkable victory in defence of the Constitution!
— Doug Coltart ✊🏼🇿🇼 (@DougColtart) May 15, 2021
“In view of the decision that we have reached, Honourable Malaba ceased being a judge and Chief Justice at 0000hrs on May 15, 2021,” Justice Zhou said reading a summary of the full judgement.
Epoch making moment in Zim as High Court Judges sit late into the night hearing @YoungLawyersZW & war veteran Fred Mutanda's application supported by @ZLHRLawyers seeking to stop tinkering of the Constitution by extending tenure of Chief Justice Malaba who should resign on 15 May pic.twitter.com/kGTMzXcCLe
— ZLHR (@ZLHRLawyers) May 14, 2021
“The term extension does not apply to any sitting judges of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court. There shall be no order as to costs.”
Malaba became Chief Justice in March 2017, replacing the late Godfrey Chidyausiku.
Prominent lawyer and MDC- Alliance vice president Tendai Biti commended the courts for upholding and protecting the constitution to protect it from manipulation.