Outgoing Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku called out out the executive, in particular Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his valedictory speech. Opening the legal year for the last time, Chidyausiku urged the executive to follow the rule of law and to observe the Constitution as the supreme law of the land at all times. This follow attempts by the Ministry of Justice to suspend the selection of the next Chief Justice (CJ) until the constitution has been ammended. Mnangagwa is also the Minister of Justice.
The CJ emphasied that the Executive has the right to chose any process in selecting a CJ. However, he reminded the executive that after having selected a process and made appropriate laws, they had a duty to follow those laws.
We as the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission accept that itis the prerogative of the Executive to decide what procedure is to be adopted for the appointment of a Chief Justice.
However, as guardians of the Constitution and as people who have sworn to uphold the laws of Zimbabwe, we insist that whatever process the Executive comes up with and enacts into a law, that process must be upheld and must be respected at all times. This is what the rule of law demands of us
Chidyausiku also added that while the Judicicial Services Commision was not interested in the identification of the new CJ, they had a solemn duty to uphold the laws of the country.
Our stance as a Commission is not about the identification of my successor but about the observance of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land at all times.
The CJ will be retiring on 1 March 2017. Chidyausiku also revealed that he received an Executive Order which later turned out to have been faked, instructing him not to hold interviews for his successor.