Lawyers Undress Pro- Malaba Judge
4 June 2021

By A Correspondent- There was drama Thursday, after one of the three judges designated to hear an application seeking the arrest of Chief Justice Luke Malaba recused himself after confirming that he had met with the head of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretariat, but the government sought to reverse his decision.

Justice Webster Chinamhora recused himself from the three-judge panel in the morning after lawyers representing Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika, who is the applicant in the matter, asked for his recusal following revelations that he met with JSC secretary Walter Chikwana ahead of the hearing of the case.

Critics say the meeting was meant to pressure the judges to make a ruling in favour of Chief Justice Malaba which would seriously compromise their independence.

Justice Chinamhora then recused himself, confirming that he had, indeed, met with Chikwana.

The remaining two judges, Justices Amy Tsanga and Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba then consulted the JSC, which ruled that they could proceed and hear the matter as a two-judge panel.

The case against Chief Justice Malaba came after his term of office as Chief Justice ended a fortnight ago, with the High Court ruling that he ceased to be the country’s top judicial officer on May 15 when he turned 70 and that a recent constitutional amendment allowing the President to extend his term did not apply to him.