President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a tribunal to investigate High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore’s suitability for office after she allegedly failed to report for duty for months.
Justice Mushore last reported for work in June last year. According to law judges cannot be absent from work for more than three days without official leave.
Coincidentally, Justice Mushore was one of the judges who ruled last year that Luke Malaba ceased to be Chief Justice upon reaching mandatory retirement age.
In Proclamation 3 of 2022 published on Tuesday, Mnangagwa appointed retired judge Justice Maphios Cheda chairperson of the tribunal, and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabhiza its secretary. Pindula News publishes the proclamation in full below:
WHEREAS section 187(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, provides that, a judge may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, due to mental or physical incapacity, gross incompetence, or gross misconduct;
AND WHEREAS section 187(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that, if the Judicial Service Commission advises the President that the question of removing a judge, from office ought to be investigated, the President must appoint a tribunal to inquire into the matter;
AND WHEREAS the Judicial Service Commission, by letter dated 25th February 2022, formally advised the President that the question of removal from office of the Honourable Justice Edith Mushore, ought to be investigated;
AND WHEREAS section 187(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, provides that, the President may, when he considers it advisable, appoint a tribunal consisting of three (3) or more members;
AND WHEREAS section 187(9) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, provides that, a tribunal appointed under section 187 has the same rights and powers as commissioners under the Commissions of Inquiry Act [Chapter 10:07], or any law that replaces that Act;
AND WHEREAS the President may authorise the tribunal or Members or any quorum of them specified in the proclamation into any matter in which any inquiry would, in the opinion of the President, be of public welfare:
NOW, THEREFORE, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President as aforesaid, I do, by this proclamation
(a) establish a Tribunal to inquire into the question of removal from office of the Honourable Justice Edith Mushore; (b) appoint Retired Justice Maphios Cheda; as Chairperson of the Tribunal; (c) appoint the Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to be the Secretary to the Tribunal: (d) direct that the Tribunal shall be held for a period of five (5) months from the date of swearing-in of Members, at such appropriate venue as shall be determined by the Tribunal; (e) direct that the report shall be availed at the conclusion of the inquiry; (f) direct that the Terms of Reference shall be as follows (i) to investigate the matter of the removal from office of Honourable Justice Edith Mushore; (ii) to investigate whether or not there is a reasonable explanation for Honourable Justice Edith Mushore’s failure to report for work without authorisation; (iii) to investigate into the matter of Honourable Justice Edith Mushore’s conduct, whether it can be deemed to have been tantamount to gross misconduct; (iv) to consider all information submitted by the Judicial Service Commission in order to arrive at an appropriate recommendation to the President; (v) to investigate any other matter which the Tribunal may deem appropriate and relevant to the question of removal from office of a Judge in terms of the law; (vi) to recommend whether the Honourable Judge, is fit to hold office in the light of the foregoing; (vii) to report to the President, in writing. the result of the inquiry within a period of five (5) months from the date of swearing-in of the Members;
(g) direct that the inquiry shall be held both in public or privately. as the exigencies of the Tribunal may determine; and
(h) appoint the Members listed in the Schedule.
SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS TO THE TRIBUNAL
1. Retired Justice Maphios Cheri, Chairperson 2. Mr Charles Warara, Member 3. Mrs Yvonne Masvora, Member
Given under my hand and the Public Seal of Zimbabwe at Harare this 25th day of March. in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two.
By Command of the President. E. D. MNANGAGWA, President.