Tribunal for “Sikhala bail Judge” Erica Ndewere extended by 6 months
By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the lifespan of the tribunal set to investigate misconduct allegations against suspended High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere, who many feel is being punished for granting bail to MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala.
The 6 month extension comes as part of a plan to cover the time lost during Covid-19 lockdown following the suspension of three tribunal proceedings by Chief Justice Luke Malaba.
A five month extension has been handed to two other tribunals to investigate misconduct allegations against Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) commissioner Frank Muchemwa and Zimbabwe Land Commission deputy chairperson Tadious Muzoroza and commissioner Jeanette Marrie Manjengwa.
The suspension of Justice Ndewere last year raised eyebrows after she was accused of “misconduct and conduct inconsistent with being a judicial officer” by the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC), three weeks after she had granted Sikhala bail in case he is facing charges of allegations of inciting public violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
Justice Ndewere’s ruling was not popular with many Zanu PF elites. Observers argued that the ruling prompted the ‘the persecution of Justice Ndewere by the Zanu PF administration’.
In her judgement, Ndewere castigated the Magistrates Court for denying Sikhala bail saying; “clearly the misdirection by the lower court was so astonishing.”
Speaking soon after the “landmark” ruling, Sikhala said, “that judgement is going to be one of the greatest judgements delivered in our country. It’s going to be reported even in foreign law reports.”
In November last year, Mnangagwa swore in a three-member tribunal to probe Justice Ndewere led by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako to inquire into her fitness to hold office. Other members are lawyers, Charles Warara and Yvonne Masvora.
Justice Ndewere was suspended on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which alleged slipshod work and a large batch of overdue judgments.
Retired judge Justice Nicholas Ndou was also sworn-in in September last year to head a disciplinary tribunal that will probe Zacc Commissioner Muchengwa’s fitness to hold office.