THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) says it is taking disciplinary measures against a magistrate who is standing for election in the Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee in Mt Darwin.
The constitution prohibits judicial officers from taking part in political activities.
Milton Serima, who is based at the Harare Civil Magistrates Court, is the second court official to participate in Zanu PF elections after Gweru prosecutor Namatirai Chipere, who subsequently resigned.
“We are investigating the issue that has been brought to the public fora and if it is indeed true that the magistrate is participating in political activities, then he has breached the fundamental principles of his practice and this must be dealt with accordingly,” JSC spokesperson Rumbidzai Takawira said.
Section 165 (4) of the country’s constitution bans judiciary officials from engaging in political activities.
“(a) Members of the judiciary must not engage in political activities; (b) hold office in or be members of any political organisation; (c) solicit funds for or contribute towards any political organisation; and attend political meetings,” the constitution spells out.
Serima is standing for election as the legal affairs secretary for Mt Darwin district.
Zanu PF’s director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said: “As a matter of principle, the party does not tolerate members of the public service participating in party electoral processes before they resign. This sitting magistrate must be censured.
“The party will summon him to explain his actions. He should have resigned before this.”
The MDC Alliance said Serima and Chipere’s cases were an illustration of a lack of professionalism in the judiciary.
“This brings the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial for Zanu PF opponents into sharp focus,” the party said in a statement.
In his campaign material Serima promised the people of Mt Darwin District “free legal aid and advice to all.”
“Due to my vast experience and knowledge of the law, I will ensure access to justice for everybody, help those in conflict with the law and those in contact with the law. Come let us build a strong and credible DCC together for our party Zanu PF,” said Serima.