By Robert Tapfumaneyi
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Thursday fired, with immediate effect, embattled High Court judge, Justice Erica Ndewere for “gross incompetence”.
The dismissal follows recommendations by a tribunal that was set up in November last year by Mnangagwa to inquire into her suitability to hold a judicial office.
The three-member tribunal was chaired by retired judge, Justice Simbi Mubako, and other members were, Yvonne Masvora and Charles Warara.
Ndewere was accused of gross misconduct in the performance of her duties, including failure to clear her workload within a reasonable period, and failure to properly study the file of a convicted prisoner, and his sentence when she set aside his jail term on appeal.
However, Ndewere denied the charges accusing Chief Justice Luke Malaba of harassing her for defying his “unlawful orders”.
In her defence, she also accused Malaba of haunting her after she defied his illegal directives in court cases brought before her involving former Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira and MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala.
The two had appeared before her seeking bail following their arrests on separate matters and had denied their freedom at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
However, Thursday, the tribunal made recommendations for Ndewere’s removal from the esteemed bench after a fully contested tribunal hearing.
“The tribunal has presented key findings to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. The tribunal has recommended that Honourable Justice Ndewere be removed from office for gross incompetence,” a statement issued Thursday evening by Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda reads.
“The President has accordingly removed Honourable Justice Erica Ndewere from office with immediate effect.”
The Constitution provides that a judge may be removed from office for inability to perform their functions due to mental or physical incapacity, or gross incompetence, or gross misconduct.