Fidelis Munyoro-Chief Court Reporter
WOMEN continue to claim their stake in the judiciary with a third female judge, Justice Fatima Chakapamambo Maxwell, joining the High Court from the Labour Court in a progressive development towards gender parity on the bench.
Justice Maxwell took the oath of office before Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza at the Constitutional Court yesterday. She becomes the third judge from the Labour Court to be elevated to the High Court after Justices Gladys Mhuri and Emilia Muchawa last month to boost the court’s capacity to deal with the increased workload.
Also in a major milestone for women, last month saw the appointment of Judge President Mary Zimba-Dube becoming the second woman to occupy the top High Court office after Justice Rita Makarau, who was first promoted to the Supreme Court and then, in May this year, was one of the first five judges appointed to the Constitutional Court.
Justice Maxwell could not hide her excitement and thanked President Mnangagwa for giving her the opportunity to sit on the High Court bench.
“I am humbled by His Excellency’s appointment and am greatly honoured to serve my country in this new capacity.
“I know it entails more responsibility. I trust God to enable me to execute my duties efficiently and effectively,” she said.
Women lawyers welcomed the appointment of Justice Maxwell.
“The appointment of women in key decision making positions by the President is a progressive development towards gender parity and equal representation as enshrined in our Constitution,” said Ms Meme Rumbidzai Zvimba, a senior partner at Zvimba Law Chambers.
Another lawyer Mr Itai Ndudzo said: “While the need for gender parity in all spheres of society cannot be overemphasised, the newly appointed judges are individually endowed with distinct credentials that make them a most beneficial addition to the bench, gender aside.”