Naughty judges irk Mnangagwa

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By Mary Taruvinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has expressed concern over rampant misbehaviour, warning he will not hesitate to remove the naughty ones from office.

He was addressing delegates at the launch of the country’s first commercial court, which is an extension of the High Court.

Mnangagwa said the second republic will not tolerate their misbehaviour.

“I’m deeply concerned by the rising cases of misconduct among judges that are brought to me in terms of section 1.8.7 of the constitution,” Mnangagwa, a former long-serving justice minister, said.

“Within a period of  three years, we had tribunals set up in terms of the constitution to deal with alleged cases of gross misconduct. Till date, three judges have been discharged from service, and one other judge has a case pending before the tribunal. This demonstrates the transparency of our processes in our constitutional democracy,” he said.

Recently,  Mnangagwa dismissed Bulawayo High court judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, for gross misconduct, sexual harassment and nude photos after a nasty and bitter fallout with a colleague and lover Oratile Nare following a tribunal investigation.

Mnangagwa, in June last year, constituted a three-member tribunal to investigate the suitability of Mabhikwa to continue serving on the bench after being charged for alleged misconduct, sexual harassment and possessing pornographic material linked to his former girlfriend Nare.

Mabhikwa had an affair with Nare, who was Bulawayo High Court Justice Maxwell Takuva’s assistant at the time.

Nare became jealous after she saw raunchy or sexually explicit messages and nudes sent to another woman by the judge, and then spilt the beans, on social media, in rage.

Mnangagwa also fired Harare High Court judge, Justice Erica Ndewere.

She 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.

Currently, a tribunal is deliberating over the case of Justice Edith Mushore who has not reported for duty for nearly a year.

“We thus expect impeccable and ethical conduct  from our judiciaries  because magistrates and judges are the last defence in terms of the protection of fundamental rights to all people, and should uphold the highest ethical standards. This is the only way that our citizens are assured quality justice,” he said.