High Court Judge Who Blasted Police For Inefficiency And Granted Job Sikhala Bail Faces Dismissal
13 October 2020
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Paul Nyathi

Justice Ndewere

High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere will be facing a tribunal after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended to President Mnangagwa to set one up to look into her suitability to hold office.

Justice Ndewere is facing allegations of misconduct and conduct inconsistent with being a judicial officer.

Justice Ndewere last month bravely granted MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala $50 000 bail.

Sikhala is facing charges of inciting public violence. He had been in remand prison for weeks after he was denied bail at the magistrates’ court.

In her ruling, Ndewere attacked the police for using social media in their investigations instead of establishing their own independent probe.

She said Sikhala’s conduct was never that of a fugitive running from the law, but he was fleeing from unidentified men who were following him after police claimed he was fleeing arrest following a flimsy press statement issued by the police.

She blasted the police for using a vague press statement instead of calling Sikhala’s lawyer.

A day after giving her judgement, commentator Alex Magaisa said he feared for Ndewere.

Magaisa wrote on Twitter:

Her suspension from the bench over the yet to be disclosed misconduct will be automatic by operation of law once the tribunal is put in place.

Highly placed sources though indicate that Justice Ndewere could be in trouble for failing to provide her seniors with the Sikhala bail judgement before delivering it in court.

If the tribunal clears her, she returns to the bench; if the tribunal makes other findings and recommendations she could well lose her post. The tribunal is not a criminal court, but can report that certain conduct is not consistent with holding judicial office.

This brings to two the number of judges that have allegedly conducted themselves in a manner that constitutes judicial misconduct, and which calls for a tribunal hearing.

Supreme Court judge Justice Bere is on suspension pending the outcome of the tribunal that probed him and is now compiling its report to the President.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza yesterday confirmed that JSC had referred the matter to President Mnangagwa, the appointing authority, for a judicial tribunal in terms of the Constitution.

“The JSC has referred to the President a recommendation to set up a tribunal to inquire into the question of removal from office of Justice Erica Ndewere, a High Court judge,” she said without giving details of the allegations levelled against the judge.

“A tribunal will be constituted very soon and in terms of the Constitution, the judge will be suspended once the tribunal has been set up.”