PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Sunday named Justice Mary Zimba-Dube as the new Judge President, taking a position vacated by Justice George Chiweshe who was promoted to the Supreme Court bench.
Mnangagwa also named lawyer Fortune Chimbaru to the position of Deputy Attorney General. She was the director of the Civil Division in the Attorney General’s office before her promotion.
By naming Zimba-Dube – who has been on the bench for 10 years – to the position of Judge President, Mnangagwa delivered a snub on two judges who are more senior – Justice Garainesu Mawadze of the Masvingo High Court and Justice Martin Makonese of the Bulawayo High Court.
The choice of a Judge President – who oversees the High Court and assigns cases to judges – has become a hot political issue in Zimbabwe after Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi in May appeared to accuse Chiweshe of assigning hostile judges to cases in which the Zimbabwe government was being sued.
Ziyambi’s outburst came after three High Court judges ruled that the purported extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term past the retirement age of 70 was constitutionally void, before ordering that he had ceased to be a judge and Chief Justice on May 15. The government appealed.
Some legal observers saw Chiweshe’s “promotion” as the government’s attempt to regain control of the High Court and secure favourable judgements.
Judicial Service Commission secretary Walter Chikwana said Zimba-Dube would take her oath before Malaba on Tuesday. – ZimLive ■