Lawyers Want Minister Ziyambi Arrested For Contempt Of Court

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By Anna Chibamu

JUSTICE Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s appeal on a High Court ruling that last Saturday ended Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s tenure of office will not have any effect, a Harare lawyer has said.

However, according to a top lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, Ziyambi faces contempt of court charges and the lawyers have drafted a complaint to the Registrar of High Court, Judge President George Chiweshe, and all cited judges following Ziyambi’s weekend outburst.

After Saturday’s High Court ruling, the Justice Minister claimed the country’s judiciary was “captured” by unnamed hostile foreign powers and the government would not accept that.

However, addressing a press conference Monday, Mpofu said Ziyambi must show cause why the High Court must not hold him to be in contempt of court.

Malaba’s tenure of office could not go beyond 70 years of age as stated in the Constitution which was, however, amended by Parliament recently.

“Owing to the gravity of the matter we wish to advise that we have firm instructions from our consultant to take the necessary action, including the institution of proceedings for contempt of Court should the law not be faithfully and scrupulously adhered to,” said Mpofu.

The lawyers’ consultant is Musa Kika, the director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

“Whilst an appeal can, all things being equal, be lodged against a declaratur, the position in law is that an appeal does not suspend the operation of the declaratur,” said Mpofu.

“The minister’s statement is meant to threaten other judges who may become seized with the offshoots of this dispute. We have instructions to ensure that the seriousness with which the comments are viewed by our consultant and indeed by all right-thinking Zimbabweans be reflected in the corrective action to be taken.

“A letter has been written to the Registrar of the High Court, the Judge President, and the honorable justices who dealt with the matter requesting the issuance of a citation for contempt of court against the minister. The legal issues that arise from this matter must, therefore, be dealt with in the High Court. We believe the minister must show cause, why the High Court must not hold him to be in contempt of court.”

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