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Mnangagwa fires judge who ruled against Chief Justice Malaba

Justice Edith Mushore, the High Court judge who ruled against Chief Justice Malaba in May last year has now been fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

A tribunal established to look into her unexplained absence from work recommended the decision, although it was already clear the process was fixed.

Justice Mushore infuriated Mnangagwa after she ruled that Malaba had ceased to be Chief Justice, upon reaching the age of mandatory retirement. Malaba later appealed the judgement and won the case.

Few months later, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended that Mushore be investigated over allegations that she “disappeared” without official leave since June last year.

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Mnangagwa through a Proclamation 3 of 2022, then appointed retired judge Justice Maphios Cheda chairperson of the tribunal, and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabhiza its secretary to carry out the investigation in line with section 187 of the Constitution, which among others, provides that a judge may be removed from office only for inability to perform the function of his or her office, due to mental or physical incapacity, gross incompetence, or gross misconduct.

This is not the first time a judge has been fired under controversial circumstances.

Last year, Mnangagwa sacked former High Court judge Erica Ndewere for “gross incompetence”.

This was however viewed by critics as a punishment for Ndewere after she granted bail to opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Vice Chairman Job Sikhala (MP) in 2020.