Daniel Nemukuyu: Senior Court Reporter
RETIRED High Court judge Justice November Mtshiya has bemoaned flagrant disregard of court orders by some arms of the Government, which has an effect of eroding the people’s confidence in the country’s Judiciary.Court orders are binding on all State organs and therefore judicially enforceable in terms of the supreme law of the land. Justice Mtshiya and Supreme Court judge Justice Vernanda Ziyambi, called it quits on November 30 this year at the age of 70.
For the first time in the history of the Judicial Service Commission, a farewell dinner was held to honour and celebrate the two’s achievements and contributions to the development of the law in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the farewell dinner held in Harare on Monday evening, Justice Mtshiya expressed disappointment at the reluctance by some arms of the Government to comply with court orders.
“I am sure you all agree with me that reluctance or refusal by other arms of Government to obey court orders does not augur well for confidence in the Judiciary. I am really worried about that aspect as I leave the bench.
“I am, however, happy that the JSC is alive to that problem and hope that very soon a solution shall be found,” said Justice Mtshiya.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku hailed Justices Ziyambi and Mtshiya for their contribution to the judiciary of the country.
The Chief Justice described the two judges as dedicated and hardworking officers who selflessly and blamelessly served the nation for a lengthy period.
“What is evident from the history of the two judges is the selfless dedication to duty. They have served on the bench with so much honour and dignity. “They have led blameless careers on the bench and through their conduct, they demonstrated that the profession of a judge is more of a calling than a venture to accumulate wealth.
“On behalf of the Judiciary, JSC, the people of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation for the distinguished service that the two judges rendered during their time on the bench,” the Chief Justice said.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku said the duo had lived an exemplary life and younger judicial officers should take a cue from their conduct.
“I sincerely hope that through such conduct, hard work and dedication to duty, they have led by example and left a few lessons to other younger judges about the values and ethos of being a judge,” he said.
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba said Justice Ziyambi will be greatly missed on the Constitutional Court bench.
“The Chief Justice was about to say, but did not say it, that he will miss the whisper of advice that always came from his left side (in terms of the judges sitting arrangement). “When the Chief Justice is away, that advisory whisper would come from my right side.
“We will miss those grammatical correction that we always got from Justice Ziyambi. “After writing a judgment, we always thought we had done well. But the moment it had been sent to Justice Ziyambi for proof reading, there were always several changes to grammar,” said the Deputy Chief Justice.
Justice Lavender Makoni hailed Justice Mtshiya for his skills in settling disputes at pre-trial stage without belabouring the court with trials.
“Justice Mtshiya had skills in settling matters at pre-trial conference stage. Most of his PTCs would settle, thereby reducing pressure on the bench,” she said.
Justice Mtshiya’s close friend at the High Court, Justice Joseph Musakwa described him as a humorous friend and a father figure. Justice Ziyambi was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court bench in Zimbabwe and she was part of the famous Sandura Commission.
She was born and educated in the West Indies and moved to Zimbabwe upon marriage to the late Mr Tarisai Ziyambi. She once worked at the Attorney-General Office and in private practice before her elevation to the bench. Justice Mtshiya had a stint with the private practice and also served as Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
He served as corporate secretary for the Mineral marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe before being appointed judge of the Administrative Court. He was later moved to the Labour Court and finally to the High Court.