OPC mum on Chief Justice debacle

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Office yesterday refused to be drawn to comment on recent claims by outgoing Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku that it had written to him to stop the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from conducting interviews for his successor.

Source: OPC mum on Chief Justice debacle – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 19, 2017


Chief Justice Chidyausiku, in his speech to mark the opening of the 2017 legal year on Monday, said he had received a directive purported to be an Executive order from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to stop the interviews, which turned out to be fake.

Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba yesterday said communication between the Chief Justice and the President was privileged, saying he was not qualified to comment on the matter.

“Communication between President and the Chief Justice is called confidential communication. He (Chidyausiku) has chosen to disclose it and the only person, who can comment is the Chief Justice or the President. I don’t dabble in privileged communication, that is not my business,” he said.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku, in the speech, said the debate about his successor had been muddied by unfortunate statements but he was not ready to wade into the murky waters.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku retires next month, although a suitable successor has not yet been identified, with the JSC conducting interviews and handing over the results to Mugabe to choose the next top judge.

The government, on the other hand, has started a process to amend the Constitution to enable Mugabe to appoint a new Chief Justice.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill will be debated in Parliament around mid-April this year.