Chief Justice Luke Malaba is on course to remaining in office beyond 15 May (next Saturday) when he turns 70 after President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.2) Bill into law.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.2) Act allows judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to continue to serve beyond the age of 70, if the President, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), consents to their doing so.
According to the NewsHawks, Mnangagwa needs Malaba to help him navigate possible constitutional and legal minefields ahead of the 2023 elections.
The JSC did not announce a vacancy by advertising the chief justice’s position, a week before Malaba’ retirement under the old law, meaning that the shortlisting of candidates and public interviews had not been done.
Justice ministry officials told The NewsHawks that the position has not been advertised because it was known beforehand that there was a plan to amend the constitution to allow for Malaba’s extension.
Malaba has reportedly been a vital cog in Mnangagwa’s political machinery, helping him sanitise and legitimise the coup which toppled Mugabe and thrust him into power.
Malaba has also run the judiciary in a way that has helped Mnangagwa’s regime, government insiders acknowledge.