Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who heard an appeal filed by Gula-Ndebele’s lawyer Advocate Happious Zhou, Tuesday ruled that Mugabe should be joined as a party to the High Court proceedings in the application in which Gula-Ndebele wants the court to set aside the recommendations of a tribunal set up by the Zanu-PF leader and chaired by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu which led to his dismissal.
The former AG took legal action against Bhunu by asking the High Court to set aside the Judge’s tribunal’s recommendation on the grounds of gross unreasonableness.
But the then Judge President Justice Rita Makarau dismissed Gula-Ndebele’s application on procedural grounds, ruling that the former AG should have cited President Mugabe as a defendant.
Makarau did not rule on the merits of the complaint against Bhunu’s tribunal. This prompted Gula-Ndebele to request the Supreme Court to overrule Justice Makarau’s decision and send his case back to the High Court for a hearing on the merits of his original application.
Although Gula-Ndebele’s lawyers wanted the matter to be remitted to the high court and be heard by a different judge of the high court, Justice Malaba ruled that Justice Makarau should preside over the former AG’s application and hear the merits of the application after the joinder of Mugabe to the main application.
“Accordingly the appeal is allowed…..The matter is remitted to the same Judge who heard the matter before. Of course we are aware that the Judge (Makarau) is now a Judge of Appeal. But there is nothing to prevent her from going and complete the case,” reads part of Justice Malaba’s ruling.
Gula-Ndebele was suspended by Mugabe from his post in May 2008 for allegedly abusing his office after he allegedly met a fugitive former bank executive, James Mushore.
Mushore, a former deputy managing director at National Merchant Bank (NMB), fled to Britain in 2004 at the height of the country’s banking crisis that saw several finance houses shut down by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Mushore was later arrested upon his return to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe then appointed Johannes Tomana, a sworn Zanu-PF apologist to take over from Gula-Ndebele.