A former Zimbabwe High Court judge, David Bartlett (67), now based in the United Kingdom, has withdrawn his application to join the Constitutional Court bench due to a rise in human rights abuses under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Bartlett’s name had been shortlisted by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and he was set to face public interviews along with other candidates, with Mnangagwa picking Constitutional Court judges from the interview results.
However, following egregious human rights violations and a crackdown on dissent over the past weeks, Justice Bartlett had a rethink of his decision to apply to be considered for appointment to the Constitutional Court bench.
Bartlett quit the bench in 2002 during the time the late former President Robert Mugabe was in charge.
In 2001, four judges, mainly white, quit the bench, while a fifth, Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to retire.
Under Gubbay, the Supreme Court had ruled that the state-sanctioned confiscation of white-owned farms under the Fast Track Land Resettlement Programme was illegal.