By Tendai Rupapa
Suspended chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe on Wednesday had his application seeking recusal of the magistrate presiding over his case dismissed for lack of merit, paving way for the trial to proceed on April 17.
Guvamombe sought an order to remove Hwange magistrate Mr Collet Ncube from his case, arguing that he was his junior.
In his application through his lawyer Mr Jonathan Samukange, Guvamombe insisted that all the magistrates were his juniors and opted to be tried by a High Court judge.
He is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly offered work-related attachment to former Cabinet ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira at the Harare Magistrates’ Court where they are appearing on criminal charges.
He is also being charged for interfering with a magistrate involved in a matter in which he allegedly had conflict of interest.
In his ruling, Mr Ncube said there were no cogent facts proffered by the defence warranting his recusal.
“Application for recusal must have basis,” he said. “Cases of magistrates appearing before magistrates and judges appearing before judges are not new.
“Also, applications are made towards individual judicial officers. So, for the accused to say all the magistrates, whether serving or retired, are disqualified in his case would be stretching the objective too far.”
Guvamombe further argued that the State’s key witnesses, Messrs Elijah Makomo and Hoseah Mujaya, were also senior to Mr Ncube, hence might be biased towards his seniors during trial.
Mr Ncube in his ruling said: “The fact that State witnesses involved are senior regional magistrates has no effect at all. I will be impartial in assessing their evidence without any fear or favour.”
Prosecuting, Mr Zivanai Macharaga had opposed Guvamombe’s application saying: “The critical question here should have been on whether or not you, Your Worship, is capable of giving this accused a fair trial, but there was nothing like that in their application.
“There is nothing that has been placed before this court that suggests you will be biased in your conduct. The State is ready for trial.” The Herald