Zimbabwe has separated the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court in line with the dictates of the “new” Constitution passed in 2013.
In the past, chosen judges of the Supreme Court had the dual role of serving as Constitutional Court judges whenever issues arose yet, the 2013 Constitution demands that operations of the two institutions be independent of each other.
The separation ceremony was held this Friday and presided over by Chief Justice Luke Malaba. He said:
With effect from 22 May 2020, the Constitutional Court will by operation of the law be constituted by judges separate from judges of the Supreme Court.
From today (Friday), the Constitutional Court will operate separately from the Supreme Court, with judges specifically appointed to be Constitutional Court judges, dedicated to the development of the country’s constitutional law jurisprudence.
Before the separation, the Supreme Court consisted of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and 13 other judges. Malaba added:
The Constitutional Court is the only tribunal with the power to nullify an unconstitutional law or conduct of the President or Parliament.
The other courts with concurrent jurisdiction on constitutional matters may declare the law, or conduct of the President or Parliament unconstitutional but cannot nullify it.
Any order of constitutional invalidity has no force or effect until it is confirmed by the Constitutional Court. The court has final jurisdiction on whether an Act of Parliament or conduct of the President is unconstitutional.