Zimbabwe: JSC Seeks to Be Part of MP Mamombe's Court Case

From left, Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marovaface charges in a Harare court.
22 October 2020

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has approached the High Court seeking to be included in the ongoing case against MDC Alliance lawmaker Joanna Mamombe.

In an urgent chamber application filed with the High Court, the JSC argues as the employer of the trial magistrate, it must be afforded an opportunity to be heard on the question of costs and make representations in that regard.

It said this was now impossible because the magistrate, Bianca Makwande, did not refer the matter to it.

JSC said its intention is not to meddle or interfere with the merits of the case but solely for administration purposes.

"The applicant has become aware of the proceedings under Case HC5435/20, as is the employer of the third respondent (Bianca Makwande)," reads part of the application file at the High Court.

"The third respondent was obliged, under terms of her employment, to refer the matter to the applicant (JSC). The applicant does not wish to participate in or be drawn in respect of the substantive merits or demerits of the main application as between the respondents.

"The applicant's interest is limited to the draft order, in particular paragraph three which seeks to depart from the precedent in this jurisdiction by inviting this Honourable Court to make an order of costs against a judicial officer in respect of conduct that has occurred during the normal course and scope of his or her employee," said JSC.

It said it has an interest in the outcome of the proceedings, especially regarding the issue of costs.

Mamombe is cited by the JSC as the first respondent while Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi is the second respondent and Makwande as the third respondent.

The Harare West MP is accused of falsehoods through faking her abduction by suspected state security agents and breaching Covid-19 regulations after holding a demonstration over hunger in a high-density suburb of Warren Park in Harare early this year.

In his founding affidavit to support the application, the JSC secretary, Walter Chikwanha said the commission "must be afforded an opportunity to assist the court in arriving at a decision as regards the order of costs sought, which protect the interests of the JSC, its employees and the broad interests of justice insofar as punitive orders of costs are proposed to be made against JSC officers."

The matter is yet to be heard.

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