By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
Pressure is mounting on Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to resign or risk being fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa following his ‘reckless’ accusations that judges are captured by “foreign forces” to tarnish and “destabilise the “Second Republic” after a High Court judgment blocking the extension of Luke Malaba’s term as Chief Justice.
This comes after High Court Judges Justice Jester Charewa, Justice Happias Zhou and Justice Edith Mushore declared that Justice Malaba’s five-year extension term of office by President Emmerson Mnangagwa was illegal.
Malaba turned 70 last Saturday, 15 May 2021, meaning he is now retired.
Ziyambi took particular aim at Justice Zhou for allegedly being an anti Mnangagwa and Judge President George Chiweshe, who is viewed suspiciously as an ally of vice president Constantino Chiwenga, wondering why Chiweshe was not cited in the lawsuit.
“I want to make it clear today that we do not accept the decision of the High Court. We have a serious situation of a Judiciary that has been captured by foreign forces in this country,” Ziyambi said.
Yesterday, in what appeared to be a damage control move, Justice Ministry Permanent Secretary Virginia Mabhiza issued a new measured statement on the High Court ruling, saying the judiciary was independent.
Mnangagwa also threw Ziyambi under the bus and said his government respected the judiciary.
“In Zimbabwe, the independence of our judiciary is vital to the survival of our democracy. When our courts speak, all Zimbabweans should listen.
“The Government or Zimbabwe wholeheartedly respects the independence of our judiciary,” he said.
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has urged Ziyambi to resign.
“Ziyambi your remarks towards the judges in the ongoing Malaba saga are unbecoming of someone in the position you hold. Judicial prudence is critical and the credibility of the country is at stake.
“Your remarks are erroneous and misplaced. With such a mistake, you should do the right thing and resign,” he said.
Award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono also urged Mnangagwa to dismiss the under-fire Minister.
“As long as the incompetent Ziyambi Ziyambi remains Justice Minister, the statements by Mnangagwa and his permanent secretary Virginia Mabiza will remain empty and disingenuous!
“Ziyambi Ziyambi said that High Court judges are captured.
“It therefore remains the Government’s position until he resigns or he is fired! No statement can change that, even if it is coming from Mnangagwa!”
A team of human rights lawyers led by Advocate Thabani Mpofu have since written a letter to the registrar of the High Court, the Judge President and the Judges who presided over the matter, informing that they are filing a contempt of court application against Ziyambi.
“We have instructions to ensure that the seriousness with which the comments are viewed by our consultant and indeed by all right-thinking Zimbabwean be reflected in a corrective action to be taken,” Adv Mpofu told journalists during a press conference on Monday.
“For that reason, we advise that a letter has been written to the registrar of the High Court, the Judge President and the honorable Justices who dealt with the matter requesting the issuance of a citation for contempt of court against the Minister.
“The legal issues that arise from this matter must therefore be dealt with in the High Court. We believe the Minister must show cause why the High Court must not hold him in contempt of court,” he added. Nehanda Radio