New era for Constitutional Court

Source: New era for Constitutional Court | The Herald

New era for Constitutional Court

Fidelis Munyoro
Chief Court Reporter
The Constitutional Court will, with effect from today, have a substantive bench following President Mnangagwa’s appointment of five judges to the highest court in the land.

Justices Paddington Garwe, Rita Makarau, Anne-Mary Goora, Ben Hlatshwayo and Bharat Patel, will today take oath before Acting Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza at a ceremony to be held at the Constitutional Court.

Before their appointment, the five were all acting judges of the Constitutional Court.

The five were appointed from a list of nominees prepared by the Judicial Services Commission, following public interviews to fill the vacancies for Constitutional Court judges on September 28 last year, where 12 shortlisted candidates were interviewed.

The need for Constitutional Court judges arose following the split of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court benches in May last year in compliance with the Constitution, which provides for the separation of personnel manning the two courts.

The Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice sit on the Constitutional Court by right, but the other five judges are appointed as individuals from the pool of qualified and experienced candidates.

Following the invitation to members of the public to nominate suitably qualified persons for appointment to five positions of judges of the Constitutional Court in terms of the Constitution, the JSC received 12 valid nominations.

All were sitting or retired judges of the Supreme and High courts.

Until May last year, transitional provisions of the 2013 Constitution set the Constitutional Court to consist of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice and seven other judges of the Supreme Court sitting together as a bench to hear any constitutional case.

Justice Luke Malaba and Justice Gwaunza automatically became judges of the new, separate Constitutional Court as ex-officio.

As a temporary expedient, Chief Justice Malaba appointed the five senior judges of the Supreme Court to act as acting judges of the Constitutional Court.