Chief Court Reporter
SUSPENDED High Court Judge Justice Erica Ndewere, who is facing a tribunal over her suitability to continue as a judge, wants the judge assigned to hear her application challenging her suspension to recuse himself from the case.
Justice Benjamin Chikowero was assigned when the application was brought for hearing yesterday, but Justice Ndewere, represented by lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, asked the judge to recuse himself so a retired judge could be brought in hear the application.
Justice Chikowero, who worked with Justice Ndewere in the criminal division of the court, reserved judgment to allow him to consider the submissions made by both parties’ legal counsel.
This is the second time that Justice Ndewere had made an application of this nature.
Last week, she successfully sought the recusal of Justice Davison Foroma from hearing her urgent chamber application that sought to interdict President Mnangagwa from setting up the tribunal to probe her conduct.
Giving reasons for his recusal, Justice Foroma noted that he could not preside over the matter involving a colleague in the same criminal division.
Since judges in the same division interact closely with each other in a number of collaborative respects, Justice Foroma felt there was need to maintain collegiality among judges to avoid wrong perceptions in the public domain and that it would be in the best interests of justice if he stood down.
President Mnangagwa appointed a three-member tribunal chaired by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako.
The other two members are lawyers Mr Charles Warara and Ms Yvonne Masvora.
Justice Ndewere is being accused of conduct inconsistent with a judicial officer, reportedly for slipshod work and a large batch of delayed judgments.
She had, after the recommendation of the JSC for the President to set up a tribunal, already filed an urgent application seeking an interim interdict to stop the setting up of a tribunal by President Mnangagwa to investigate her judicial conduct, pending the determination of the legality of the recommendation. But this has since been overtaken by events since the tribunal is now in place.