Appeals filed at the Supreme Court challenging the High Court ruling nullifying the extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term of office will be heard in due course, the Judiciary Services Commission (JSC) has said.
This follows filing of notices of appeal by Chief Justice Malaba and 16 other Supreme and Constitutional Court judges against the recent High Court ruling.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the JCS filed separate petitions a fortnight ago.
The 16 judges: Chief Justice Malaba, Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, Paddington Garwe, Rita Makarau, Anne-Mary Gowora, Ben Hlatshwayo, Bharat Patel, Antonia Guvava, Susan Mavangira, Chinembiri Energy Bhunu, Tendai Uchena, Nicholas Mathonsi, Charles Hungwe, Felistas, Alfas Chitakunye, Alfas Chitakunye, Samuel Kudya and Lavender Makoni have all appealed the ruling.
A judge is disqualified from hearing a case once cited as one of the litigants. JSC Secretary Mr Walter Chikwanha told The Sunday Mail yesterday that all cases put before the courts are heard.
“I think it is important to note that when an appeal is made it is placed before the court, in this case the Supreme Court, not before a judge,” he said.
“And I can assure you that the cases before the Supreme Court will be heard. We can never have a situation whereby a matter is placed before the courts and the courts fail to hear it. In fact, it is impossible for a court to fail to hear a case.”
Mr Chikwanha said the question of who will hear the case is a prerogative of the judiciary, guided by the country’s laws.
“There is speculation as to who will hear the case and I find it inappropriate for people to talk about who will sit on the bench to hear the case,” he said.
“So I do not know who will be on the panel, but I know that the case will be heard because the judiciary will deal with that and come up with a decision.”
Constitutional law expert and University of Zimbabwe senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, said there was no constitutional crisis because there were legal ways to deal with the matter.
“Well there are two ways to deal with it. If the judges really want the appeal to be heard there is an option to appoint different judges on a fixed term contract as per Section 186 Subsection 6 of the constitution,” he said.
“This means they will come in and hear the case and leave. The second one is that the appeal can be heard at such a time when the court has entirely new judges.
“This can be five or 10 years from now; it does not matter. It should be noted also that it’s not every appeal that can be heard. “Sometimes appellant can file an appeal just to set aside a judgement.” -Sunday Mail