BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
MUSA Kika, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum director, has filed an urgent application at High Court seeking to stop Luke Malaba from exercising functions of Chief Justice until the Supreme Court hears the latter’s appeal against a May 15 High Court judgment which ruled that he was retired.
“Luke Malaba shall immediately cease and desist from exercising the functions of Chief Justice of Zimbabwe either in a judicial or administrative capacity unless allowed to do so pursuant to the outcome of the appeals filed under SC 131/21, SC 130/21 or SC 156/2,” read the application filed yesterday.
Malaba, the Justice ministry, the Judicial Service Commission and the Attorney-General are cited as the first, second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
Last month, the High Court ruled that the extension of the top judge’s retirement age beyond 70 years did not apply to Malaba and other sitting judges despite constitutional changes.
The court also ruled that the constitutional amendments were supposed to be subjected to a referendum before they could become law. This followed after President Emmerson Mnangagwa had extended Malaba’s term by another five years citing the constitutional amendments.
On Thursday, the High Court ruled that Malaba was not in contempt of court when he reported for work after government appealed the High Court ruling.
Justices Amy Tsanga and Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba ruled that the effect of the two appeals filed by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the Judicial Service Commission was to suspend the High Court ruling.
Kika had asked the High Court to find the Chief Justice in contempt after he returned to work and wanted Malaba fined and jailed for six months if found in contempt unless he complied with the court ruling.