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JSC recommends tribunal for Justice Mushore

by Staff reporter
03 Mar 2022 at 05:36hrs | Views
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has recommended a tribunal to determine whether High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore should continue as a judicial office after failing to report for duty for nine months.

Since June last year, the JSC has unsuccessfully tried to contact the judge to hear her story and her whereabouts are still unknown.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabiza confirmed the development, saying the recommendations have since been forwarded to President Mnangagwa, who will set the tribunal.

The recommendations, Mrs Mabiza said, were done in terms of Section 187 (1) and (3) of the supreme law of the country to ascertain if the judge is still mentally and physically fit to continue working.

A tribunal will also investigate and establish whether there is evidence of gross incompetence and misconduct on the judge's part.

The JSC has recommended to the President that the question of her suitability to remain in office be referred to a Tribunal. We await further instructions from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).

The referral is in terms of s187 (1) and s187 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, said Mrs Mabiza. Section 187 of the Constitution provides that a judge may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, due to mental or physical incapacity, gross incompetence or gross misconduct.

In terms of the law, once the commission recommends a Tribunal, the President is obliged to facilitate and appoint the tribunal.

Justice Mushore last reported for duty on June 14 last year and is yet to give a formal explanation.

Judges cannot be absent from work for more than three days without official leave and if unwell they are asked to send in a doctor's report so they are granted sick leave.

Efforts by her superiors in the judiciary to get an explanation from Justice Mushore, and invitations for her to send her driver with a doctor's report, have been in vain and no one from the JSC has been able to gain admittance to her home.

The Judge President of the High Court has since allocated Justice Mushore's cases to other judges to ensure the litigants get justice within reasonable time.

Justice Mushore is attached to the family law court at the High Court.

When asked initially for an explanation she indicated she was unwell, but she has not sent a sick note. Three separate letters were written by her superiors at the High Court asking her to at least send a driver with the doctor's note, but without success.

The head of the High Court's family law division, her immediate superior, in June last year wrote Justice Mushore a letter asking her to explain her absence from work.

A month later, the Judge President of the High Court wrote again to Justice Mushore reminding her that her absence from work without official explanation amounts to misconduct.

She was even asked to send her driver with the sick note but to no avail.

On August 12 last year, the Judge President informed Chief Justice Luke Malaba of the development and he then sought an explanation from Justice Mushore in writing, but up to now she has not responded.

In June, the motion court failed to sit after Justice Mushore did not attend.

Source - The Herald