10 November 2017

Zimbabwe: Supreme Court Trashes Zibani Application

Photo: John Manzongo/The Herlad
Chief Justice Luke Malaba being sworn-in by President Robert Mugabe (file photo).

Supreme Court judge Justice Bharat Patel says University of Zimbabwe law student Romeo Zibani's application to stop the conducting of interviews for the chief justice's post last year was based on imagined fears and facile opinion with no strong foundational basis.

Patel, in his judgement released yesterday, also said the High Court which granted an interim interdict preventing the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from conducting public interviews, "gravely and grossly misdirected itself that the first respondent (Zibani) had a prima facie or other right and by consequently granting the interim relief sought by him".

The judgement was delivered by Justice Charles Hungwe.

Zibani, represented by lawyers Venturas & Samukange, sought to stop the chief justice interviews in December last year, arguing that the process was "unfair" and "not transparent".

His application was however challenged by the JSC through its lawyers Kantor and Immerman at the Supreme Court.

The JSC's appeal was upheld by the Supreme Court, while Zibani's application was dismissed with costs by judges Patel, Ben Hlatshwayo and Vernanda Ziyambi in February.

"The application was an abstract one, driven by surmise and conjecture without any cogent foundational basis. In other words, the first respondent has no right, whether prima facie or otherwise, to have the unequivocal provision of the constitution applied in a manner that might have accorded with his distorted perception of how they should have been applied," Patel said.

He further said the Constitution cannot under any circumstances be "abrogated, superseded or suspended by intended executive action relating to the prospective amendment of its provisions".

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