A ZANU PF activist’s bid to have former Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term of office extended beyond the retirement age has been described as a classic example of a tortoise on a lamppost.
The activist, Marx Mupungu, on Friday filed a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) application seeking to nullify a judgement that ended Malaba’s term as chief justice.
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University of Kent Law lecturer Alex Magaisa argued that Mupungu is being used by the system as a tactic to pretend that judges of the ConCourt are uninvolved and therefore can sit in judgment of the matter. Magaisa posted on Twitter:
I read the application by one Marx Mupungu who says he wants the ConCourt to “vary an order of constitutional invalidity”. In colloquial parlance, atenga nyaya yaMalaba. (He has bought Malaba’s case). But he is a classic tortoise on a lamppost. It did not get up there alone.
The tortoise on the lamppost’s stratagem is plain: pretend that judges of the ConCourt are uninvolved & therefore can sit in judgment of the matter. But the reality is that the order that he wants varied binds those judges. The party guest cannot determine the guest list.
Those who put the tortoise on the lamppost know that all current judges of the ConCourt are conflicted. They cannot be players & referees in the same match. They cannot even choose new referees because they have an interest. This gimmick is meant to cleanse them.
But it can’t. These judges cannot sit to vary an order that binds them as parties. That would be a gross violation of the Constitution that Mupungu purports to have motivated him to buy the case. It would be contrary to the right to a fair hearing.
The tortoise says it wants to bring the current confusion to finality in a swift & cheap way. It has only succeeded in adding to the confusion. That the man is going to these lengths to save his job shows desperation. But each step he takes exposes him even more. Embarrassing.