Controversial Judge Transferred To Harare

Mathonsi commenced his duties at the High Court in Harare this week after his transfer from Bulawayo where he has been operating from since his appointment as a judge in 2010.

On Wednesday the judge presided over proceedings in court C at the high court, where he heard unopposed matters in the motion court while on Friday he will deal with sentences.

Mathonsi was sworn in as a judge in May 2010 together with Justice Garainesu Mawadze and Justice Andrew Mutema.

Their appointment as judges together with Justice Martin Makonese, Justice Hlekani Mwayera and Justice Maria-Zimba Dube brought to 27 the total number of High Court judges in Zimbabwe.

However, it is the re-assignment of Justice Mathonsi which has raised eyebrows as it comes following his passing of some judgments that were deemed unfavourable to the police, the Attorney General’s office and other government authorities.

Recently Justice Mathonsi shredded prosecutors for abusing their powers to keep accused persons admitted to bail in remand prison, saying such actions were putting the reputation of the justice delivery system into disrepute.

In a judgment delivered early this month dismissing an appeal by the Attorney General’s office seeking to overturn the granting of bail to two Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) employees, Fadzai December and Molly Chimhanda and MMPZ member, Gilbert Mabusa, Justice Mathonsi tore prosecutors to pieces and said time had come for them to be schooled on the appropriate use of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA).

December, Chimhanda and Mabusa were arrested last year and accused of undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe by distributing DVDs that police said carried offensive material. They were also charged with violating the Public Order and Security Act.

However, on Tuesday, a Gwanda Magistrate dropped the charges of contravening POSA but maintained that they will have to answer to charges of insulting Mugabe.

In May last year, Justice Mathonsi chided police in Matabeleland North province for unlawfully detaining a Nkayi activist, Jorum Dube, for two weeks without bringing him to court.

The judge criticised Nkayi police officers for lacking knowledge of the law and that ignorant officers posed a threat to the public. Dubewas only released following a High Court Order declaring his detention illegal.