TWENTY-TWO candidates aspiring to fill nine vacant positions of High Court judges appeared before the Judicial Service Commission panel as the public interviews entered their second day yesterday.
At least 35 candidates have been shortlisted for the interviews after one withdrew.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba is presiding over the three-day interviews, which began on Monday.
The candidates are required to answer four standard questions from the Chief Justice to test their understanding of the law, their preparedness and competencies to work as judges of the High Court.
Other commissioners can interview them.
Most of the candidates were seemingly struggling to answer basic questions including issues to do with themselves and their know-hows of the operations of the superior courts.
Justice Rogers Manyangadze who has garnered enough layers of experience sitting on the magisterial and Labour Court bench acquitted himself well showcasing his judicial intelligence coupled with an impressive record of disposing matters expeditiously.
Justice Manyangadze said he felt it was time for him to leave the Labour Court to a court of unlimited jurisdiction to broaden his exposure.
“Labour Court is a specialised court dealing with one area of law as distinct from the High Court, a court of unlimited jurisdiction that deals with far more different areas of law than the Labour Court,” he said.
Justice Manyangadze said given his track record he was ready to unleash his sterling performance at the High Court bench.
“Given the track record I have established where I am now I am confident that the trend would continue even in the High Court.
“It is a simple matter of understanding issues and cases coming before me and exerting myself to the workload consistently in that court. I believe that level of performance will not diminish but improve.”
Despite coming from a remote area, Gokwe regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manuwere also performed well.
Mr Manuwere has 17 years of experience on the magisterial bench though operating in small towns such as Plumtree, Masvingo, Rusape and Gokwe among other small towns.
He was asked if he had sufficient experience to be able to move seamlessly to the High Court bench given the nature of small cases handled in those areas.
But in his response, Mr Manuwere said he was ready because he has what it takes to be at the High Court bench.
Mr Manuwere said apart from using digital platforms to improve access to justice, he said the rules of the High Court must also be simplified for people in the rural areas to understand the legal processes.
Mr Manuwere said he has acquitted himself as a regional magistrate. He said on cases he scrutinised and sent to High Court Bulawayo, judges have agreed with him on most of them.
“I have even conducted training for magistrates and the training yielded results in reducing white papers against magistrates because they are now applying their mind when doing their work,” he said.
“I have acquitted myself in that regard. Clearly, it shows I am competent. I have no appeal overturned since I joined the regional court bench. I am able to acquit myself at the High Court bench.”
Other candidates who did well include Mr Elijah Makomo, Mr Joel Mambara, Ms Noria Mashumba among others.
Under the Constitution, a person is qualified for appointment as a judge of the High Court if they are at least 40-years-old and been qualified for a minimum of 10 years as a legal practitioner in Zimbabwe.