Suspended High Court Judge In Dramatic U-turn
Mnangagwa suspended Justice Ndewere early this month and set up a tribunal to investigate her over conduct deemed as inconsistent with that of a judicial officer.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reinstated suspended High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere’s salary and benefits “after further considerations to the provisions of section 187(10) and 188(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and receiving expert advice”.
This was after the judge was accused of setting aside a jail term imposed on a convicted thief, Kenneth Majecha, and referred the case back to the magistrates court for resentencing, recommending that the convict should be considered for community service on the basis that he was a youthful first offender.
Mnangagwa yesterday swore in a three-member tribunal consisting of retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako, lawyer Charles Warara and Yvonne Masora to investigate Justice Ndewere.
The President reinstated her salary and benefits after she wrote to the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, saying Mnangagwa had no legal standing to dock her salary.
Mnangagwa admitted he had jumped the gun and caved into Justice Ndewere’s demands.
“At the end of the said letter, I indicated that His Excellency, the President had suspended Ms Justice Ndewere without pay and benefits. After further considerations to the provisions of section 187(10) and 188(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and receiving expert advice, thereon, His Excellency the President has revoked the reference of the said suspension ‘being without pay and benefits’,” part of a letter by Sibanda read.
“Accordingly, she will be on suspension with full pay and benefits reckoned from the date of the original suspension.”
Through her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Justice Ndewere on November 5, 2020 wrote to Sibanda advising that Mnangagwa did not have a legal standing to dock her salary and benefits.
“… We also opine that if the President, in Proclamation 7 of 2020, intended, albeit erroneously, to suspend the judge without salary and benefits, the Proclamation would, in fact, say so,” Mtetwa wrote to Sibanda.
“Your office cannot, therefore, go outside provisions of the proclamation and add its own conditions to same. In short, your superfluous confirmation of the constitutional suspension cannot import into the proclamation what it does not state.”
In another letter dated November 9, 2020 to Sibanda and copied to the Judicial Service Commission, Mtetwa urged Mnangagwa to immediately order the restoration of Justice Ndewere’s salary and benefits.
According to Mtetwa, Justice Ndewere is still hoping that her application to have the tribunal set aside will be heard.