The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has commenced investigations into its secretary Walter Chikwana over his alleged meeting with one of the judges assigned to hear Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s contempt of court case.
Top human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa wrote to JSC on 4 June 2021 calling for Chikwana’s investigation and suspension.
This was after Justice Webster Chinamhora last Thursday recused himself from the matter saying he had met with Chikwana prior to the court sitting.
Responding to Mtetwa in a letter dated 7 June 2021, acting Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza said the JSC has started investigations into Chikwana’s conduct. Justice Gwaunza wrote:
On the instructions of the Honourable Chief Justice L. Malaba, please be advised that the Judicial Service Commission has commenced investigations into the matter concerning the meeting you referred to as well as the concerned judge’s recusal from the case in question.
This is being done in accordance with the relevant regulations and procedures.
Kindly also note that the issue of the JSC Secretary Mr Chikwana, deposing to affidavits on behalf of the JSC in various litigation, is currently the subject of an appeal before the Supreme Court.
After Justice Chinamhora’s recusal, the proceedings had to continue with only two judges, Justices Amy Tsanga and Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba who reserved judgment to this week.
Malaba is embroiled in a legal fight to keep his job after the High Court ruled that his term of office expired last month when he turned 70.
Attempts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to extend his term were adjudged a legal nullity.