BY MOSES MATENGA
UNDERFIRE Chief Justice Luke Malaba yesterday escaped jail time after the High Court ruled that he was entitled to return to work after appealing a High Court ruling that the extension of his term of office was illegal.
The High Court last month ruled that the extension of Malaba’s term of office was null and void after he turned 70 years on May 15.
Government appealed the decision and Malaba felt that he was entitled to return to work until the matter was heard, but Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika felt that he was in contempt of the court ruling.
Justices Amy Tsanga and Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba agreed with Malaba’s assertion that the effect of two appeals filed by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Attorney-General Prince Machaya was to suspend the order of the High Court.
Malaba has been subjected to a plethora of litigation over his continued stay in office despite a High Court ruling that nullified it after President Emmerson Mnangagwa facilitated it.
“There can be no contempt on the part of the first respondent when the legal position is that an appeal suspends an order appealed against,” the ruling delivered yesterday read in part.
“There is, thus, no need for us to get into the contempt argument as it does not come into play. The application for an order of civil imprisonment of the first respondent for contempt of court is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs,” the judges said.
The High Court ruled that a constitutional amendment does not benefit an incumbent, effectively retiring Malaba.
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