Judges Reprimanded Over Poor Dressing

In a memorandum addressed to all high court judges, Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe recently berated the judges over scruffy dressing and for playing truancy.

Chiweshe accused the judges of absenting themselves from duty without seeking leave from his office and of switching off their mobile phones during working hours resulting in their failure to attend to urgent chamber applications during weekends, public holidays and after hours as required.

Chiweshe who took over as Judge President from Justice Rita Makarau, who is now the secretary of the Judicial Services Commission lectured judges to dress conservatively by wearing dark suits, white or light coloured shirts and dark shoes to go with the sober clothing.

The Judge President said the high court dress code, a part of the ethics and etiquette of the legal profession prescribes black, navy and charcoal grey suits as court colours while shirts and blouses have to be white.

Chiweshe criticised judges for wearing creased and dirty clothes.

In 2008, the Gideon Gono-led Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe lavished judges with gifts of houses, plasma television sets, satellite dishes, generators, vehicles and computers. However, the majority of the judges are leasing their houses which were parcelled out as donations by the central bank three years ago.

In 2007, former Judge President Rita Makarau cautioned that government was undermining the judiciary by starving it of resources and reducing it to “begging for its sustenance”.