Student demands lawyers’ appointment on the bench

A ZIMBABWE Ezekiel Guti University (Zegu) law student has approached the High Court seeking an order directing the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to also consider practising lawyers for appointment as Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges.

In his application, Chamunorwa Chingwe cited JSC, president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, as respondents.

Chingwe said he filed the application after getting wind that the JSC was carrying out consultations in order to appoint Supreme Court judges but will only consider sitting justices.

He argued that the selection process must abide by the statutes, which allow for the appointment of any man or woman who meets the requirements set out under Section 178 of the Constitution.

He further said that the JSC must also abide by its duties which are set out in the Constitution.

“I am aware that consultations … have begun for the appointment of Supreme Court judges only from the pool of sitting High Court judges. 

“My view is that the process must be fair, credible, and verifiable and must answer to the obligations of the JSC as set out by Section 191 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Chingwe insisted that appointing judges only to the Supreme Court or Constitutional Court, would be unfair and disadvantage some from the legal practitioners, who qualify for the jobs.

“Attempting to appoint Supreme Court or Constitutional Court judges without conducting public interviews for those who are not sitting judges would deny all those who qualify for such appointment the equal protection of the law under Section 56 of the Constitution and it would be unfairly discriminatory. 

“In addition, it would be blatantly unconstitutional,” he said.

Chingwe demanded an order interdicting the JSC from proceeding with the appointment of Supreme Court judges without following the process that allows all qualified persons to be considered.