President Emmerson Mnangagwa desperately wants to extend Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s reign beyond his looming retirement on 15 May 2021, The NewsHawks report.
President Mnangagwa is believed to be keen on extending Malaba’s reign by another five years renewable annually.
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Malaba is considered to be a vital cog in Mnangagwa’s political machinery, helping him to sanitise and legitimise the coup which toppled Mugabe and thrust him into power in 2017.
It was also Malaba who delivered the Constitutional Court judgment which confirmed Mnangagwa’s disputed 30 July 2018 presidential election victory.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had challenged the presidential election results alleging fraud and manipulation of the vote.
The nine Constitutional Court judges unanimously dismissed Chamisa’s challenge but it is understood that Malaba prevailed over some judges to ensure the unanimous ruling.
The NewsHawks reported sources as saying some judges wanted to dissent but were whipped into line.
Malaba was reportedly Mnangagwa’s strategic candidate to replace the late Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku when he was Vice-President and Justice minister.
At the time, Mnangagwa was plotting to succeed the late former president Robert Mugabe.
His faction broadly wanted Judge President George Chiweshe to succeed Chidyausiku but Mnangagwa personally wanted Malaba.
After the legality of Mnangagwa’s government was challenged, Malaba ruled that Mugabe carefully applied his mind and decided to step down without the embarrassment of impeachment.