Zimbabwe: Covid-19 Halts Judges' Interviews

The public interviews of candidates nominated for the nine positions of the judge of the High Court have been deferred until further notice, the Judicial Service Commission has said.

The interviews were scheduled to start next week on Tuesday at a hotel in Harare.

In a statement on Thursday, the JSC said the postponement was due to the spike in Covid-19 infections and the Government's call for all institutions to further restrict operations.

"The decision was taken in the interest of the health of everyone directly involved in the process particularly, and all Zimbabweans generally," said the JSC.

"In compliance with the requirements of section 180 (2) (c) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the public will be informed of the new dates of the interviews in due course."

Thirty-six candidates, among them regional magistrates and lawyers are jostling to fill the nine vacant positions of judges of the High Court bench, according to the list of nominated candidates shortlisted for the public interviews.

The interviews followed the invitation to members of the public and to the President last month, to nominate suitably qualified persons to be appointed as judges of the High Court, in terms of section 180 (4) of the Constitution.

The JSC received 36 valid nominations and the interviews were expected to run for three days from July 26 up to 28.

In terms of the law, the JSC conducts public interviews for the prospective judges after the nominations and then sends a list of recommended interviewees to the President who may assent to the names or ask the JSC to submit a fresh set of names.

Under the Constitution, a person is qualified for appointment as a judge of the High Court if he or she is at least 40 years old.

The person should also have, for at least 10 years, been qualified to practice as a legal practitioner in Zimbabwe or any country with the same common law as in Zimbabwe, or in a country which the common law is Roman-Dutch or English.

English should be an officially recognised language for practice.

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