By Thandiwe Garusa
CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba Tuesday failed to preside over the swearing-in of two High Court judges in Harare following his recent controversial reappointment as the head of the Constitutional Court.
Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza presided over the swearing-in of justices Emilia Muchawa and Gladys Mhuri.
Before the latest appointments, Justice Muchawa was a Labour Court judge and Mhuri was a senior Labor Court judge.
However, the chief justice has been staying clear from public judiciary ceremonies since the controversial extension of his term office by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last May.
Malaba was supposed to leave the bench in May after he reached 70 years.
However, Mnangagwa extended Malaba’s term of office by another five years after Parliament passed the contentious Amendment No. 2 Act. The Act approved the extension of the retirement of age of judges from 70 to 75 years.
In May, three High Court judges rejected Mnangagwa’s extension of Malaba’s term of office, but the state appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court. The matter is pending and Malaba has been reporting for work since the appeal.
However, Malaba has been skipping most public judiciary ceremonies, with Justice Gwaunza, who at one time acted as the chief justice, presiding.
Last month, the chief justice also stay clear from the swearing-in ceremony of new Supreme Court judges, Justices George Chiweshe, Samuel Kudya, Alpheous Chitakunye, Felistas Chatukuta, Hlekani Mwayera, and Joseph Musakwa.