Court reserves judgment in JSC interviews case

Source: Court reserves judgment in JSC interviews case – NewsDay Zimbabwe

BY LORRAINE MUROMO
AN application by human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa demanding that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and President Emmerson Mnangagwa should produce scoresheets for interviews of Supreme Court judges candidates was heard on Tuesday by Masvingo High Court judge Justice Sunsleey Zisengwe who reserved judgment on the matter.

In 2018, Mtetwa demanded that the JSC releases the results of Supreme Court judges’ interviews that were held in 2016.

Eight High Court judges, who include justices Charles Hungwe, Lavender Makoni, Alfas Chitakunye, Francis Bere, Samuel Kudya, Nicholas Mathonsi, Joseph Mafusire and Priscilla Chigumba, were interviewed on September 29, 2016 to fill four vacancies on the Supreme Court bench.

However, only two new Supreme Court judges, Justices Francis Bere and Lavender Makoni, who were at the High Court, were sworn in.

Mnangagwa was accused by human rights defenders last year of deliberately delaying the appointment of Constitutional Court judges in until the Constitution is amended through Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 2) Act.

In her application, Mtetwa said Munamato Mutevedzi, of the JSC, declined to release the scoresheets on the basis that it was “confidential”.

Mutevedzi is now a High Court judge after being appointed to the bench late last year.

Mtetwa said the JSC should produce the scoresheets in respect of each candidate interviewed on September 29, 2016 for the four Supreme Court vacancies, a dated copy of the list of qualified nominees matching in terms of the number of the advertised vacancies, plus any and all correspondence exchanged between the JSC and Mnangagwa between September 29, 2016 and May 11, 2018.

She is challenging the JSC and Mnangagwa to release the results of the interviews of Supreme Court judges, arguing that it was of national importance as it involved a crucial arm of the State.

She also demanded that Mnangagwa should appoint from the list submitted by the JSC and fill the remaining four posts in the order of their ranking on the list submitted to him.

However, the JSC accused Mtetwa of failing to recognise that in terms of section 11 of the Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28], the appointment of judicial officers did not constitute the exercise of an administrative function as contemplated in her founding affidavit.

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