Some Zanu PF youth have invaded a Mashonaland West farm owned by war veteran, Frederick Mutanda, who challenged in court President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s extension of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Luke Malaba’s term of office, according to an online publication, ZimLive.
ZimLive quoted Mutanda as saying 25 youth from Harare, using motorbikes and four vehicles, started camping at his Mutorashanga farm on Tuesday claiming that he is anti-government.
Two weeks ago, Mutanda, the Young Lawyers’ Association of Zimbabwe, Kika Musa of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and others sued the Judicial Service Commission and Attorney General when Mnangagwa extended Malaba’s term of office by five years.
Mnangagwa used some provisions of the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment (Number 2) Act to extend Malaba’s term of office.
Malaba is said to have returned to work on Monday following a leave to appeal filed to the Supreme Court by state representatives a week ago.
Kika has filed an urgent court application seeking the committal of Chief Justice Luke Malaba to Chikurubi Prison for a period of six months for defying a High Court order issued by Justices Happias Zhou, Edith Mushore and Jester Charewa, declaring as null and void the extension of the chief justice’s term of office after he reached 70 years.
Kika, who was the applicant in the matter which was joined with another application filed by the Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe, secured a declaratory order in which the High Court declared that Malaba’s tenure as a judge and chief justice of Zimbabwe came to an end on May 15, 2021.
In a statement, Kika said, “However, in complete defiance of this order the former chief justice presented himself at his office on May 24, 2021. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary, Walter Chikwanha, was quoted in the Herald newspaper on Tuesday as having confirmed the return of Malaba because of an appeal which the JSC noted.”
Kika argues in his founding affidavit that the JSC’s view that the appeal field by the government has suspended the operation of the judgment of the High Court “is incorrect as the judgment of the court is a declaratur and is for that reason not suspended by the noting of an appeal.”
He further stated that as a jurist of distinction, “Malaba is aware of this position but has simply decided to be in contempt of court.”
Kika seeks to have the prison term suspended on the grounds that Malaba shall “forthwith cease and desist from exercising the functions of the chief justice either in a judiciary or administrative capacity.”
Kika is also seeking to have an order that the record of these proceedings be placed before the Law Society’s Disciplinary and Ethics Committee for it to take any action that it may find advisable and appropriate, considering the circumstances of the matter.
The three High Court judges ruled that “… Extension of the time provided for in Section 186 does not apply to CJ (the chief justice) and any sitting but not acting judges of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court and there shall be no order as to costs.”