ED Removes Promotion of Judges Through Public Interviews

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By Leopold Munhende

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will now have the sole responsibility of appointing and promoting judges after he removed, with immediate effect, a Constitutional clause that allows the selection of judges including the Chief Justice through the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) public interviews.

The new developments were announced by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa Tuesday at the last post-Cabinet press briefing for 2019 at Munhumutapa Building in Harare.

“The president now has power to appoint a judge of the High Court upon recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission wherever such a higher court post arises without going for interviews because they are sitting judges already,” Mutsvangwa said.

She added; “The Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and the judges of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court will now be able to hold office until the age of 70 years and their contracts will be renewed yearly upon production of a medical report for a maximum of five years”.

In terms of the country’s Constitution, the JSC was mandated to conduct public interviews for prospective judges after nominations and then the Commission would send a list of recommended interviewees to the President who may assent to the names or ask the JSC to submit a fresh set of names.

This clause was included in the new Constitution of 2013 following widespread consultations that were held across the country, which led to a national referendum to be held that year.