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”.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.