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Chief Justice threatened

15 Oct 2020 at 12:00hrs | Views
There was a report in the media in particular the Newsday Zimbabwe alleging that the suspended judge Ndewere had told off the Chief Justice. The reporter went on to say she refused instructions and that she refused supervision from the Chief Justice.  It makes sense to remind each other that soon after Justice Ndewere ruled in favour of Job Sikhala an opposition sympathiser  Magaisa took to Twitter warning that Judge Ndewere will be investigated. He however said  the investigation will be triggered  by the granting of bail to Job Sikhala.

There are two issues we must look at.
Justice Ndewere was the only person aware of the pending suspension. So what happened?  The judge told Magaisa that she has a pending misconduct hearing. So she was fully aware that Magaisa will twitt it. This twit was not only to help her in her case but she will emerge as a  heroine among the opposition. Justice Ndewere has used this as a fall back.  So her arrogance in telling off the Chief Justice shows a person who is swimming in a  fallacy and a facade of comfort.  She has assembled Twitting brigade to vilify the Chief Justice. Ndewere is a person who can not handle a problem she is prepared to  pull the whole judiciary system down with her.

The information in the paper obviously came from her through her lawyers. Integrity has escaped her and she seeks to white wash her misdemeanour with a sympathy card   

The judge claimed that   She was instructed by the chief justice to deny bail. Job was not a class D prisoner and again his core accused were already bailed. His case did not the interference of the chief justice. So the judge employed an old trick of smearing the judge in-order to get  a miss-trial.
The Chief justice is being threatened  and he has to be strong and enforce discipline in his army of justice.

The Judiciary can not be oiled without a strong leadership. No amount of bad publicity will cow the Chief Justice to submission.

Chief justice Malaba is not conflicted in his job and  he does no command politically correct judgements.

We should remember that the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. As such, he is head of the Zimbabwe judiciary.

The Chief Justice leads the business of the Supreme Court and presides over oral arguments. He is also the most senior of the three members of the Zimbabwe Court of Appeals. The Chief Justice also administers the oath of office to the President of Zimbabwe.

Since the court was established in 1927, 14 men have served as Chief Justice. This includes eight chief justices during the Southern Rhodesia and Rhodesia periods. The first Chief Justice was Sir Murray Bisset. Since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, six men have served as Chief Justice. Of these six, three have been White and three Black. The current Chief Justice since 2017 is Luke Malaba.
Luke Malaba (born 15 May 1951 is a Zimbabwean judge currently serving as the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe. He was appointed Chief Justice by then-President Robert Mugabe on 27 March 2017. However, he had already been serving as acting Chief Justice since 1 March 2017, following Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku's retirement. Previously, he had served as Deputy Chief Justice.

The Chief is the President of the Supreme Court and titular head of the judiciary, the judicial arm of government.

The Constitution also attributes two specific additional functions to the Chief Justice:
The Chief Justice has responsibility for all aspects of the work of the Supreme Court. In addition to presiding at hearings of the Supreme Court the Chief Justice has the responsibility of managing the Court including the assignment of Judges to cases coming on for hearing.

The Chief Justice is ex officio a member of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Other responsibilities
In addition to the purely judicial duties and administrative responsibilities associated with the Supreme Court itself, the Chief Justice has a range of other administrative responsibilities. He occupies the following positions:
1. Chairman of the JSC‚Ä®and many other portfolios

The chief justice presides over the Court's public sessions and also presides over the Court's private conferences, where the justices decide what cases to hear and how to vote on the cases they have heard. Perhaps the chief justice's greatest power is the power to decide who writes the Court's majority opinion if, but only if, the chief justice has voted with the majority. Otherwise, the power to assign the majority opinion shifts to the member of the majority who has the most seniority on the Court. Sometimes, the chief justice will assume personal responsibility for writing the Court's most important or controversial decisions; sometimes he will assign that responsibility to others.
While the judge President is responsible for judges of the high court it is insubordination of the highest level to refuse instructions from the Chief Justice.

Instead of telling the public what was the reason of her  suspension the judge suddenly fell into selective mode. She only remembered the Job Sikhala bail and forgot the inefficiency and other charges she is facing. The vilification of the chief justice by the judge and her lawyers is a sad day for the integrity of court.  

The chief justice is also the administrative head of the entire judiciary. Indeed, his official title is Chief Justice of the Zimbabwe not Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as Justice Ndewere erroneously assume). The chief justice presides over a corps of some high court judges, including  thousands of magistrates. and labour court judges. The judicial branch includes a staff of seven thousand, with the chief justice picking the most important central administrators, The chief justice also picks the members of important policy-making judicial committees and of specialized courts.

So to say the chief justice gives instructions on how to give a decision in a bail application is an insult.  

It should be known that
The Supreme Court is a superior court of record established in terms of section 168 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013.
It consists of;
(a) the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice and
(b) no fewer than two other judges of the Supreme Court and
(c) any additional judges appointed in terms of the Constitution.
Where the services of any additional judge(s) are required for a limited period, the Chief Justice may appoint a judge of the High court or a former judge to act as a judge of the Supreme Court for that period.

The Supreme Court Act [Chapter 7:13] (The Act) and the Supreme Court Rules, 2018 (the rules) regulate the exercise of jurisdiction by the Supreme Court.
The rules were promulgated on June 2018.

Looking at the history of the chief justice there is no doubt that he is a jurist. There is no reason he could be so obsessed with power as to be giving instructions on bail. We might not know the politics of the corridors of law but there is a mole. The problem with moles they tend to add soup in the pan and point to an elephant in the room.
The problem with those who spread falsehoods  they forget that the real issues will be heard in Tribunal not in the press.

Justice Ndewere must not blame the Chief Justice for her short comings. If she did not give her wrong side of the story to the Twitting brigades then her lawyers must be ashamed for such a horrible strategy. It is a shame to soil the justice system in trying to fight for justice.
The Chief justice has always been a target of the disgruntled but to have officers of the court turning the scales of justice upside down its a shame.

Lawyers must be known for defending justice. Magaisa is a lawyer but his love for the opposition politics has seen him walking  on the side of contempt.
Law is not only a profession but a way of life.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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