Zimbabwe: Malaba Bounces Back

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is congratulated by Chief Justice Luke Malaba after his inauguration at the National Sports Stadium in Harare (file photo).

CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba Tuesday made a surprise return to office Tuesday as he presided over the swearing in of newly appointed Judge President Mary Zimba-Dube after a two-month hibernation following the controversy surrounding his tenure of office.

Dube was on Sunday named as the new Judge President, taking a position vacated by Justice George Chiweshe who was promoted to the Supreme Court bench.

She was promoted together with lawyer Fortune Chimbaru who was appointed Deputy Attorney General.

She was the director of the Civil Division in the Attorney General's office before her promotion.

Justice secretary Virginia Mabhiza hailed the promotion.

"Im very happy in my capacity as the secretary of Justice. Here we are seeing a woman being elevated to a very high office of the judiciary.. let me say its not only about her being a woman but it is also about the experience she has, not only in the courts but also in the area of administration," she said.

Meanwhile, Malaba swore in Dube marking his first public appearance since a High Court ruling that ended his term in office in May this year.

Elizabeth Gwaunza would preside over judiciary functions although Malaba never left office following the judgement.

He went on to appeal against the High Court ruling days after the state challenged the same decision and both matters are yet to be heard.

However, the chief justice has been staying clear from public judiciary ceremonies since the controversial extension of his term by Mnangagwa.

Malaba was supposed to leave the bench in May after he reached 70 years.

However, Mnangagwa extended Malaba's term of office by another five years after Parliament passed the contentious Amendment No. 2 Act.

The Act approved the extension of the retirement of age of judges from 70 to 75 years.

In May, three High Court judges rejected Mnangagwa's extension of Malaba's term of office, but the state appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court. The matter is pending and Malaba has been reporting for work since the appeal.

However, Malaba has been skipping most public judiciary ceremonies.

Malaba also stayed clear from the swearing-in ceremony of new Supreme Court judges, Justices George Chiweshe, Samuel Kudya, Alpheous Chitakunye, Felistas Chatukuta, Hlekani Mwayera, and Joseph Musakwa

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