HARARE – In yet another blow to the Chief Justice, Luke Malaba’s reputation, judges wrote a damaging letter petitioning President Mnangagwa over the capture of the judiciary.
In the letter dated 26 October 2020, the judges allege that what is usual spread across social media about the capture of the judiciary is nolonger just perception but reality as they claim Malaba is now ruling across all judiciary structures without any restrain.
“What is repeated in the public domain and on social media about the capture of the judiciary is no longer fiction or perception, it is in fact reality. It is an open secret that right across the judiciary structures, the Chief Justice now rules without fetter,” said the judges in their letter to the President.
The letter also claims that the complaints from the judges are not being taken on board because of unqualified people who are promoted within the Judicial Service Commission and as a result are only doing as told so as to protect their jobs and hefty packages.
Furthermore the judges also claim that there are now illegal structures that have been created which receive reports on the actions of judges in court and as a result they are now afraid to make independent decisions as mandated by the job.
The judges say, “judges are therefore now so afraid of their own jobs that they consciously or subconsciously make decisions that they consider ‘safe’, even if these do not accord with the law.”
According to the said letter, the judges claim the stronghold even stretches beyond the Magistrate and High Court, saying that even within the Supreme Court, judges are required to circulate their draft judgments before and that during the circulation that judge can be told to change the judgment by the Chief Justice.
“There is also what the Chief Justice calls ‘judgment by consensus’, a euphemism for discouraging dissenting voices.”
The letter also cites various conflict of interests that are occurring within the justice system, for example they note that Chief Justice Malaba has set in the Consitutional Court judgements to hear appeals of matters that he was involved in at Supreme Court level.
Recently there has been a strong outcry about the state of the judiciary system with citizens expressing their concerns about the capture of the judiciary which is meant to be independent at all costs.
The letter also comes as Justice Erica Ndewere has taken her fight to the courts against an impending suspension, where she claims she is being victimised for refusing to take orders on how to rule certain cases, a key reference being the recent case the state had against MDC-Alliance vice chairperson, Job Sikhala.
Reports are Ndewere granted Sikhala bail against the orders from Malaba who had tried to make her rule otherwise.