A ZANU PF activist has launched a fresh bid to have former Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term of office extended beyond the retirement age.
A little known ZANU PF youth league member on Friday filed a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) application seeking to nullify a judgement that ended Malaba’s term as chief justice.
Three High Court judges Justices Happias Zhou, Edith Mushore and Jester Charehwa last month ruled that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s controversial move to extend Malaba’s tenure by five years was unconstitutional.
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Marx Mapungu, who is being represented by lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, argued in the ConCourt application that Mnangagwa acted within the law in renewing the chief justice’s term. The application read in part:
I am making this application in terms of section 175 (3) of the constitution of Zimbabwe.
I am seeking an order varying or not confirming an order of constitutional invalidity made by the High Court of Zimbabwe in Judgement no HH264/21 handed down on May 15, 2021, by a three-member panel.
… I believe the president of Zimbabwe acted constitutionally when he accepted the medical report on the mental and physical fitness of the Honourable Justice Luke Malaba.
In so doing, the president was approving the honourable justice’s election to continue in office as chief justice for an additional five years
As a citizen, I believe the chief justice is in office in accordance with the constitution following the aforesaid acceptance by the president of the aforesaid medical report…
Mapungu said he decided to make an urgent application because the matter was of immense public importance and required an authoritative determination by the highest court.
He cited Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika, and the Young Lawyers’ Association of Zimbabwe, who challenged the extension of Malaba’s term, as respondents in the matter.
Meanwhile, Kika recently filed an urgent chamber application seeking Malaba’s arrest for contempt of court charges, after he reportedly turned up for work despite a court order which terminated his contract as chief justice.
On Friday, High court judges, Justices Amy Tsanga and Slyvia Chirawu-Mugombe reserved their judgement on the matter.