Chiweshe, the former chairperson of the old Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, that broke a record of announcing Zimbabwe’s presidential results after almost a month in March 2008, takes over from Rita Makarau, who was promoted to the Supreme Court Bench.
Both Chiweshe and Makarau were sworn in by Mugabe at State House on Thursday.
As Judge President, Chiweshe will effectively become the supreme head of all High Court Judges in the country. Some of his duties will involve assigning them court cases. He will be at the same level as a Supreme Court judge.
Human rights activists recently condemned his appointment after word had gone round that Chiweshe was going to be appinted Judge Presdident. They said his appointment would undermine any confidence in the judiciary system and was likely to heighten tensions between Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is widely believed to have won the 2008 Presidential election and it is suspected that Chiweshe delayed to announce the results to give him time to manipulate the figures.
When results were announced, almost a month later, Chiweshe said there had been no clear winner who had gathered enough votes to become a president and declared a second round of presidential elections, which Tsvangirai refused to stand because of violence. About 200 MDC activists were said to be killed during the 2008 election violence and thousands others displaced from their homes. The perpetrators of this violence are yet to be brought to book despite a dossier handed over to the police by MDC.
Deputy Justice Minister Jessie Majome told the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper over the weekend that she was shocked and dismayed when she learnt that Chiweshe will be appointed Judge President.
Three new High Court judges, Justices Nicholas Mathonsi, Andrew Mutema and Garainesu Mawadze, also took their judicial and loyalty oaths.