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Malaba swears in Judge President

by Staff reporter
28 Jul 2021 at 07:48hrs | Views
CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba yesterday presided over the swearing in of newly-appointed Judge President, Justice Mary Zimba-Dube, making his first public appearance since the May High Court judgment that ruled him "unfit" for office.

Justice Zimba-Dube takes over from Justice George Chiweshe, who was promoted to the Supreme Court bench last month. She becomes the second woman to assume the top post in the High Court after Justice Rita Makarau, was became the first woman to become Judge President of Zimbabwe in 2006.

CJ Malaba has been staying from public Judiciary ceremonies since the controversial extension of his term of office by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after he turned 70.

His term was extended using the newly-enacted controversial Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act (No. 2), which gave powers to the President to extend the retirement age of judges from 70 to 75 years.

Three High Court judges had rejected Mnangagwa's extension of Malaba's term of office, but the State and Chief Justice appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.

The matter is pending, but Malaba has been reporting for duty since his appeal.

Justice Zimba-Dube's appointment raised some criticism by legal experts saying the appointment was unconstitutional, according to section 181(2)(a) of the Constitution which stipulates that the most senior judge of the court must act as Judge President if the office holder is unable to perform the functions.

At the time of Justice Zimba-Dube's appointment, Justice Garainesu Mawadze (Masvingo High Court) was the most senior High Court judge, followed by Justice Martin Makonese (Bulawayo High Court), while Justice ZimbaDube was the third most senior judge.

However, Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Virginia Mabiza hailed the appointment, saying she was happy that a female was appointed.

"Here, we are seeing a woman being elevated to a very high office of the Judiciary. Let me say it is not only about her being a woman, but it is also about the experience she has, not only in the courts but also in the area of administration," Mabiza said.

Source - newsday

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