Govt Defends Luke Malaba Tooth And Nail
29 October 2020
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Virginia Mabhiza

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza has defended under fire Chief Justice Luke Malaba claiming that he is being victimised for fighting corruption within the bench.

Reacting to the anonymous document purported to have been authored by the superior courts judges and being circulated on social media and newspapers attacking the judiciary, the JSC and the Chief Justice in particular, Mrs Mbhiza said that the issues raised in the document were the same old stories, which are being recycled and had been investigated already.

The document that was addressed to President Mnangagwa raised a plethora of allegations against the Judiciary and the Commission.

“We do not believe this document was authored by judges because if it was, then we see no reason really why it should be anonymous persons,” said Mrs Mabhiza.

“Honourable judges have previously made complaints and written petitions to the Chief Justice, the JSC and His Excellency. At no time have they done this anonymously.”

In July this year, Chief Justice Malaba issued an internal memorandum directed to the High Court judges on the need to pronounce judgments when they are ready, the judges wrote to the Judge President, identifying themselves, expressing concern.

They have also done petitions identifying themselves before expressing concern on their conditions of service.

In 2015 the judges wrote a petition addressed to the then Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, complaining after he publicly lambasted them for not performing their duties, againthey identified themselves.

They appended signatures on each of the petitions.

Mrs Mabhiza said the document which has gone viral on various social media platforms was authored by those who are aggrieved by the stance taken by Chief Justice Malaba and the Commission to fight corruption and hold people including members of the Judiciary accountable.

“The stance which is well supported by Government is commendable,” she said.

“It cannot be a coincidence that the attack on the Chief Justice and the JSC comes immediately after the Chief Justice had caused the investigations of three judges for various acts of gross incompetence and gross misconduct.

“This is a carefully orchestrated move that is meant to cow the establishment including the Chief Justice and the Commission from inquiring into acts of misconduct against some senior members of the judiciary.”

Mrs Mabhiza also expressed satisfaction with the work that is being done by the JSC, saying her ministry supported the stance of Chief Justice Malaba that “whilst the Judiciary is independent they must also be accountable”.