Zim Breaks With Tradition, Holds Public Interviews To Select New Judges

Harare, July 15, 2014 – President Robert Mugabe’s administration on Tuesday broke with tradition after conducting public interviews to fill in three vacant posts in the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) convened and conducted public interviews of the 10 High Court and Labour Court judges at the Rainbow Towers in Harare nominated for appointment to fill three vacancies on the Supreme Court bench.

The interviews were the first in terms of the new constitutional procedure for appointing judges.

Prior to this, the JSC would just nominate and recommend judges for appointment by Mugabe without allowing members of the public to be involved in the nomination process.

Eight Commissioners from the JSC led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku  interviewed the candidates following nominations by President Robert Mugabe and members of the public.

The ten candidates included, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, Justice Lavender Makoni, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, Justice Susan Mavangira, Justice Mercy Moya-Matshanga, Justice Tendai Uchena, Justice Happious Zhou, Justice Charles Hungwe, Justice Samuel Kudya and Justice Euna Makamure,

The appointment of the three news Supreme Court judges will boost the number of judges on the appeal court to twelve as it currently has nine judges, with four of them being women.

Other JSC commissioners who interviewed the prospective Supreme Court judges included Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Judge President George Chiweshe, chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, Law Society of Zimbabwe president Lloyd Mhishi, accountant Priscilla Mutembwa and two other lawyers Priscilla Madzonga and Josphat Tshuma.

Prominent lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Sarudzayi Njerere, Chris Mhike, representatives of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, journalists and members of the public attended and keenly followed the proceedings where soldiers and police were deployed to keep guard.

Once the JSC has completed the interviews it is obliged to prepare a list of qualified persons as nominees to be considered by President Mugabe. Under the new constitution, the JSC will submit nine names to Mugabe who will make the three appointments to serve on the Supreme Court.