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Justice Ndewere loses case against Chikwanha in service vehicle matter

High Court judge Justice Joseph Chilimbe ruled in favour of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary Walter Chikwana’s involvement in the case former High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere is fighting to keep her service vehicle.

Ndewere was controversially sacked by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after the recommendation of a tribunal.

In early November Chikwanha sent staff to seize the official Mercedes Benz that was issued to her when she was a Judge of the High Court.

JSC staff broke the gate and doors to Ndewere’s house. They spent 4 hours on the property after breaking into the garage and brought a lock smith to forcibly open the car.

It is understood that Ndewere barricaded herself in the bedroom as she feared for her life. Her husband was not at home.

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Before that the Commission had written to her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa asking the former judge to surrender her Mercedes Benz.

But the brave lawyer is resisting and she approached the court arguing that she was entitled to buy the vehicle and asked JSC to process her terminal benefits procedurally, including her pension and annual leave days.

In the latest case, she had challenged Chikwana’s involvement and posed the question whether Chikwanha had the authority to take Ndewere to court without a JSC meeting having made that decision.

But Chilimbe, her former colleague, said Chikwana’s authority to institute proceedings independently from his statutory responsibilities was not pronounced by the respondent and such a finding should not be presumed.

“In that regard, if this court, together with the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court found the resolution valid for such grave constitutional measure, then surely the same resolution should suffice for purposes of a significantly lesser contest over the asset.

“Having considered the arguments submitted on behalf of the JSC, I find no substance in the challenge to the validity of the JSC resolution, and the subsequent deposition of the founding affidavit by Chikwanha, such validity to institute the present proceedings, having been established and confirmed by this court, the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.

“Accordingly, I order that the preliminary objections missed by the respondent be and are hereby disallowed with costs in the cause,” Justice Chilimbe ruled.

Her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said in her letter to the JSC that it is tribalism and criminal abuse of office for Malaba to deny Ndewere and Francis Bere the right to buy their cars, while allowing a Ndebele judge, Thomson Mabhikwa to buy his cars which had not even clocked 5 years.

Mtetwa told the JSC that her client feels that she is being discriminated against on basis of tribalism because a former Judge Thompson Mabhikwa who was dismissed by JSC in April this year and who is of Ndebele tribe, was allowed to buy his car.

Circumstances surrounding the firing of Ndewere are controversial. Critics argue that she was sacked as a punishment for granting bail to Mnangagwa’s fierce critic and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) official Job Sikhala.

JSC filed court papers in Supreme Court alleging that Ndewere was not entitled to buy the car because she was not a sitting Judge.

In a separate letter to Mtetwa and Nyambirai, Bianca Makwadze from JSC told the lawyers that Ndewere is entitled to buy the car but had not initiated the process of buying the car and therefore the car remains JSC property.

Ndewere says she has been victimised for disobeying Malawab’s unlawful order regarding bail for Prisca Mupfumira and Job Sikhala.

She told the Mubako Tribunal that Malaba threatened her with investigation when she refused to obey his order.

She also said she has been discriminated against because Judges with outstanding Judgements for 17 months were not put through a Tribunal.

She says she has been discriminated against because other Judges such as Francis Bere and Webster Chinamhora were put through an internal disciplinary process she is asking for, but she was denied.

Ndewere has several other court applications pending in the courts and sources told Nehanda Radio that she is determined to continue her fight until justice is done.