By Fidelis Munyoro
Two new Supreme Court judges — Justice Charles Hungwe and Nicholas Mathonsi — yesterday formally joined the bench and pledged to be faithful to Zimbabwe and to administer justice to all people without fear or favour.
The duo took judicial oath before Chief Justice Luke Malaba at a brief ceremony held at the Constitutional Court in Harare.
Fellow judges of the superior courts, members of the legal fraternity, high-ranking Government officials, friends and relatives, attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Speaking to journalists after the swearing-in, Justice Charles Hungwe said he was thrilled by his elevation.
“It has been long in coming but enjoyable all the same,” he said.
“I am going to join a team. As you all know, the Supreme Court works as a team, a panel of three judges in each court. I think I will add value in the sense that I will bring a new perspective to the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.”
Justice Hungwe, who is currently on secondment to the Lesotho High Court bench on Sadc judicial business, said he was comfortable with the current situation since he was on Government duty.
He said he would be available as and when he is required back home.
“That is a national task that I am carrying out and am on it and certainly upon completion of that task I will join the others,” he said. “But it is up to the two governments as and when I am required home the authorities will recall me from the regional duty.
“As far as the matter stands for now am still seconded to the High Court of Lesotho bench on a Sadc project which is dealing with highly political sensitive matters which resulted in the political killings which Sadc is assisting Lesotho to deal with.”
Justice Mathonsi could not hide his joy after three attempts to join the Supreme Court bench and finally making it this time.
“I am really excited. I am over the moon. It has finally happened after three attempts you get the feeling that you have arrived,” he said.
“I am taking it with humility. Humility in the sense that it is not every one that manages to make it to the pinnacle of the judiciary.”
Justice Mathonsi said he was aware of the public’s expectation given his sterling performance at the High Court.
He promised to continue with his hard work on his new role as the Supreme Court judge.
“What I have been doing at the High Court will continue being done at the Supreme Court,” he said.
“That is why I am saying it is a challenge because you know that in serving a community, everyone has got their own expectations.
“As far as I am concerned, being a hard worker, I believe that I have to continue discharging my duties as I have always done. The important thing being that we need to dispense justice at the highest level and with maximum speed.”
Justice Mathonsi also said his elevation presented him with an opportunity to deliver the best to his constituency and fulfil the people’s expectations.
Veteran lawyer, Mr Addington Chinake, said the appointment of Justices Hungwe and Mathonsi to the Supreme Court was extremely well deserved.
Said Mr Chinake: “They are long standing jurists and also in judge Mathonsi’s case he was a well-established lawyer in private practice. So the combination of a longstanding judicial officer and someone who has a blend of private practice and judicial work is extremely good and it bodes well for the future strength of the Supreme Court.”
Law Society of Zimbabwe president, Mr Thandaza Masiye-Moyo, welcomed the appointment of the two saying they are going to bring a wealth of experience to the Supreme Court.
“As a profession, we are very happy with the appointments of these two great minds in the legal profession,” he said.
“We have no doubt as a profession that they are going to deliver.”
Mr Moyo also hailed President Mnangagwa for sticking to due process of the law in the appointment of judges.
He said Justices Hungwe and Mathonsi deserved the elevation given their good work in the lower courts.
“They have done excellently in the High Court. We are looking forward to their judgments,” said Mr Moyo. The Chronicle