Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Four top judges have joined the race to succeed outgoing Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and will battle it out in public interviews slated for December 12 in Harare.Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Judge President George Chiweshe, Judicial Service Commission secretary and Constitutional Court judge Justice Rita Makarau and another judge of the Constitutional Court, Justice Paddington Garwe, have been shortlisted to participate in the interviews.
Justices Makarau and Garwe held the position of Judge President before being elevated to the Supreme and Constitutional Courts. JSC issued a press release informing the nation of the receipt of the nomination papers for the four candidates.
The commission also announced the date and time for the interviews.
“Following the invitation to members of the public and to His Excellency, the President, to nominate suitably qualified persons to be appointed to the position of Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, in terms of Section 180 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, the Judicial Service Commission received four valid nominations.
“Starting at 0900hrs on Monday 12 December 2016 at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, the commission will conduct interviews in public of the following four candidates:
1. Hon Mr Justice George Chiweshe (Judge President)
2. Hon Mr Justice Paddington Shadreck Garwe (Judge of the Constitutional Court)
3. Hon Mrs Justice Rita Tambudzai Makarau (Judge of the Constitutional Court)
4. Hon Justice Luke Malaba (Deputy Chief Justice)
JSC secretary Justice Makarau is on leave.
Acting secretary Mr Walter Chikwana said the commission was now working on the interview preparations.
“We are now working on the administrative processes to ensure the success of the public interviews for the quartet.
“A detailed programme for the interviews will be posted at the venue,” he said.
DCJ Malaba, a lawyer by profession, started his career as a magistrate and also worked as a public prosecutor.
He has served for eight years deputising the Chief Justice while sitting in the Constitutional and Supreme Courts. In 2005, he was appointed judge of the COMESA Court of Justice. Justice Makarau started off as a public prosecutor and worked for several law firms. She also served as a part-time law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
She chaired the boards of some civic organisations like Musasa Project, Women and Aids Support Network and Zimbabwe Aids Prevention Society. She is currently patron for Justice for Children Trust. Justice Makarau served as a judge of the High Court and rose through the ranks to become Judge President.
She was later elevated to the Supreme Court but at the same time serving as JSC secretary. She is also chairperson for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. JP Chiweshe, a war veteran and lawyer, briefly served as a magistrate before joining the Zimbabwe National Army as a legal officer.
He also served as a judge for the court martial before joining the High Court bench, where he is now the JP. He once served as ZEC chairperson. Justice Garwe served as a magistrate for years and rose through the ranks to become Chief Magistrate.
He once served as permanent secretary for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs before being appointed to the High Court bench. Justice Garwe also served as Judge President. He has also served as ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Nam- ibia.