Saturday, 24 October 2020

SUSPENDED JUDGE TAKES ED TO COURT

HIGH Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere has filed an interdict against President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stop him from suspending her until Chief Justice Luke Malaba has followed correct disciplinary procedures.

Justice Ndewere has been accusing Justice Malaba of discrimination, saying former judge Justice Francis Bere’s disciplinary hearing was done according to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) guidelines, but her case had been sent directly to Mnangagwa without giving her an opportunity to be heard.

In her application for interdict, Justice Ndewere cited Mnangagwa, Justice Malaba, Judge President George Chiweshe, the JSC and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

“On September 15, 2020, I received documents containing complaints against myself from JSC,” Justice Ndewere said.

“It was noted that the complaints had been placed before JSC in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“I was asked to respond to the complaints on or before September 22. My lawyers of record then wrote a letter to JSC highlighting critical issues on how complaints against a sitting judge ought to be dealt with.”

She added: “It was clear from the document I received from JSC was acting on the basis that it is Malaba who is complaining about my conduct. If, indeed, it is Malaba who is of the opinion that I have conducted myself contrary in any shape or form, then the JSC code of ethics should apply.”

Justice Ndewere said the JSC did not respond to her letter and on October 13, she was shocked to receive news that she was to appear before a tribunal and received a letter stating that the complaints commission had referred the matter to the President.

She said she, therefore, concluded that the complaints considered by the JSC at the extraordinary meeting chaired by Justice Malaba were the same as the complaints delivered to her, which confirms that Justice Malaba was the one complaining about her conduct.

“By operation of law, the setting up of a tribunal by the first respondent (Mnangagwa) will result in my automatic suspension which will prejudice my work and my reputation,” she said.

“My reputation is in jeopardy because Malaba has complained about my conduct. I run the risk of losing my job based on complaints raised against me by Malaba alone. To allow this would

be a violation of my right and to the administration of justice.” Justice Ndewere said section 163(2) and (3) of the Constitution clearly stated that the Chief Justice was the head of Judiciary and was in charge of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court and Judge President Chiweshe was in charge of the High Court.

She said Justice Chiweshe was supposed to be the complainant in her case.

Justice Ndewere is reportedly being victimised after allegedly refusing bail instruction in cases involving former Cabinet minister Priscah Mupfumira, who is accused of corruption and fraud, and MDC Alliance legislator Job Sikhala, accused of plotting Mnangagwa’s ouster. Newsday

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