By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |
A tribunal investigating 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, commenced on Thursday.
The hearing started Thursday morning before a three-member tribunal led by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako. Justice Ndewere is being represented by prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai.
Two weeks ago, President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the lifespan of the tribunal with six months to cover the time lost during Covid-19 lockdown following the suspension of tribunal proceedings by Chief Justice Luke Malaba.
Ndewere is accused of gross misconduct in the performance of her duties, including failure to clear her workload in reasonable time and failure to properly study the file on a thief’s conviction and sentence when she set aside a jail term, charges she is denying.
She is however, accusing Chief Justice Luke Malaba of pursuing her after she defied his unlawful orders.
Many claim Justice Malaba wanted to force Ndewere not to grant Sikhala bail last year in the case he is facing incitement charges in connection with 31st July protests against corruption in government.
But the suspension of Justice Ndewere 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 the Zengeza West legislator bail.
Justice Ndewere’s ruling was not popular with many Zanu PF elites after she castigated the Magistrates Court for denying Sikhala bail saying; “clearly the misdirection by the lower court was so astonishing.”
Sikhala described the judgment as a “landmark ruling” while he was getting into a prison truck as he was to be freed the following day. Nehanda Radio