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George Chiweshe 'Yasser Arafat' the judge who legalised #Zimbabwe coup

by Staff reporter
26 Nov 2017 at 12:43hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe High Court ruled Saturday that the military takeover that led to Robert Mugabe's resignation was legal, a key decision since the military had insisted that its moves did not result in a coup.

High Court Judge George Chiweshe on Friday ruled that the military's actions "in intervening to stop the takeover" of Mugabe's constitutional functions "by those around him are constitutionally and lawful".

The court said that the military acted to stop the takeover of Mugabe's powers by those around him, thus ensuring that non-elected individuals do not exercise executive functions

The court's decision comes a day after Zimbabwe's first new leader in nearly four decades was sworn in, promising major reforms to ease the country's long-running economic crisis.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office Friday in a nation left deeply scarred by 37 years of authoritarian rule by Robert Mugabe, who resigned Tuesday under intense pressure from the military and the ruling party.

Judge President George Chiweshe has delivered only a total of five judgements in four years it has emerged.

According to a Zimbabwe news website, Chiweshe handed down three judgments in 2013, one in 2014, none in 2015 and one in 2016.

Judge President Justice George Chiweshe also presides over all land cases in Zimbabwe.

Who is this Judge Chiweshe?

Retired Brigadier General George Mutandwa Chiweshe (born June 5, 1953) is the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. He was born in the Mazowe district of Mashonaland Central, just northeast of Harare. Chiweshe attended Tendayi Primary School in 1961 and subsequently Fletcher Secondary School in 1969. Chiweshe obtained his law degree at the University of Zimbabwe in 1988.

Chiweshe joined ZANLA in 1975 after fleeing from the then University of Rhodesia as a law student. He trained in Mozambique. Chiweshe deputised the present Zimbabwe National Army General Constantine Chiwenga; and commanded to the likes of the late Zimbabwean hero Brigadier General Charles Tigwe Gumbo. His nom de guerre was "Yasser Arafat." Chiweshe rose through the ranks to political commissar. After independence, Chiweshe joined the Ministry of Justice as a prosecutor in 1980 and became a magistrate three years later. He later joined the Zimbabwe National Army in April 1983 as a major and rose through the ranks from Major to Brigadier General (Judge Advocate General) in 1996. Chiweshe retired from the army in April 2001 after being appointed to the bench by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

In September 2004 Chiweshe was appointed Chairman of the Delimitation Commission of Zimbabwe by Mugabe, a move that was criticised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as a ploy by ZANU PF to rig the March 2005 parliamentary elections. In January 2005, Chiweshe was appointed Chairman of the new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (a body that supervises and co-ordinates all elections in Zimbabwe), where he presently serves.

In May 2010, President Mugabe swore in George Chiweshe, former chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as Judge President. This appointment brought about massive protests by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Notable Cases

1. In 2016 Justice Chiweshe dismissed citizens' legal challenge against a police decree banning demonstrations in central Harare. He held that the police decree was constitutional despite the glaring fact that the Constitution clearly prohibits anyone but Parliament from exercising primary law making powers. [1]

2. In 2016, Chiweshe dismissed a legal challenge against the introduction of bond notes, government' s new surrogate currency, on the grounds that it was not urgent. Chiweshe overlooked the fact that government had used the Presidential Powers Act, an unconstitutional piece of legislation to support the bond notes.[1]

3. At the opening of the 2016 Legal Year at the High Court in Bulawayo Judge-President Chiweshe appeared to criticise a directive from Chief Justice Chidyausiku that required judgments to be posted on a website. Judge-President Chiweshe argued that the quality of judgments was being diluted by the requirement which had resulted in rushed judgments as judges sought to meet targets. In his speech Judge President said,

4. The current directive is that all judgments must be treated as reportable and posted on the website. The result has been that judgments of little or no significance are given a status they don't deserve. They are treated as Zimbabwe's best


Chiweshe has been criticised for his apparent bias for the Zanu-PF political party which some people have said is reflected in his anti-opposition judgements.

After being fired by the Lacoste faction of Zanu-PF, Professor Jonathan Moyo said, "If these breathtaking High Court Orders granted in Harare yesterday represent what is being peddled as a "new path", then please pray for Zimbabwe. The country desperately needs God's favour and intervention!"

Prominent UK based Zimbabwean lawyer, Alex Magaisa said in November 2016 when Chiweshe ruled against the urgency of a challenge to the introduction of Bond Notes that "Taking matters to Chiweshe's court is like goats taking a petition to a hyena!."

Source - online-pindula,wikipedia