Justice Minister and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has responded to University of Zimbabwe law student Romeo Zibani in a High Court challenge regarding the appointment of the new Chief Justice. Zibani argues that it is conflict of interest for Chief Justice Chidyausiku to be part of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) panel that will select the new Chief Justice, and for Justices George Chiweshe and Luke Malaba to contest for the post as they are JSC members.
Mnangagwa has said that President Mugabe should be accorded the right to appoint the Chief Justice in consultation with the JSC. Mnangagwa said:
In terms of that Section, it is the President who does the appointment while the nomination is done by the Judicial Services Commission. Thus the President is required in appointing the Chief Justice to consider only those people who would have been nominated by the Judicial Services Commission. In the instant case, while the interviews have been slated for the 12th of December in line with Section 180 of the Constitution, the 3rd respondent (Vice-President Mnangagwa) has already set in motion a process of amending the provisions of Section 180 of the Constitution.The amendment seeks to provide that the President will have the discretion of appointing the Chief Justice in consultation with the JSC. That said, 3rd respondent will, however, abide by any order issued by the court.
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