DEPUTY Chief Justice Luke Malaba and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau yesterday stole the limelight in public interviews for the post of Chief Justice, which falls vacant next February, when the incumbent, Godfrey Chidyausiku retires. BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Source: Malaba, Makarau steal limelight – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 13, 2016
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The interviews only went ahead after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had noted an appeal against Justice Charles Hungwe’s earlier order to stop the process until the executive arm of government has completed amendment of section 180 of the Constitution to empower President Robert Mugabe to appoint a new Chief Justice without going through public interviews.
In a dramatic twist, one of the four candidates, Judge President George Chiweshe, did not turn up for the interviews and gave no reasons. Justice Malaba, one of the most experienced judges on the bench, said his well-thought judgments were beyond reproach by anyone in the country.
“No one can question the level and quality of my judgments in this country,” he said in response to Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s question on how he had shaped the country’s jurisprudence.
“I have written 300 judgments and of these 102 have been reported in the Law Reports. In fact, I had to carry most of my colleagues in my writing judgments,” he said.
Justice Makarau, on the other hand, drew applause from the audience when she said she would gain respect from her colleagues despite being the most junior judge at the Constitutional Court because of her reasoning.
“People should not listen to me because I am a woman, but because I am making sense,” she said. She also listed a number of her achievements on the bench.
Makarau said that she set up divisions of the High Court such as the Family Law Court and had started the process of establishing the Commercial Court even though there was no law demanding that.
Justice Makarau said she had administrative experience from being the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson and executive secretary of the JSC.
She also dismissed the perception that she was a Zanu PF member when she told the panel that she was appointed to Parliament in 2000, as a technocrat to fill a vacancy that had arisen.
“I never campaigned on a party ticket. The appointing authority needed a woman who was also a lawyer to join the Parliamentary Legal Committee and I happened to be both,” she said.
Justice Paddington Garwe was the first to be interviewed and acquitted himself well.
The JSC will forward the names of the three to the President for appointment to the post of Chief Justice.
Meanwhile, the JSC has written to Justice Charles Hungwe imploring him to give reasons why he ruled to halt interviews for the Chief Justice position.
In a letter marked “urgent”, JSC’s lawyer, Addington Chinake of Kantor and Immerman wrote: “We request that you urgently furnish us with the judgment herein.”
Hungwe had said he would give his reasons by 10am yesterday.
The Chief Justice interviews were in limbo after Romeo Zibani challenged the suitability of the interviewing panel, leading to Hungwe’s ruling.
JSC decided to proceed after noting an appeal.