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Zimbabwe Judge Who Granted Bail to Opposition Leader Accused of Misconduct

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A High Court judge who set free main opposition party MDC Alliance vice chairperson Job Sikhala on bail has been accused of misconduct and conduct inconsistent with being a judicial officer.

Justice Erica Ndewere granted Sikhala Z$50 000 bail three weeks ago a month after he had been arrested for allegedly being involved in events calling for public violence before the July 31 demonstrations that was blocked by security forces.

The Judiciary Service Commission which employs judicial officers wrote to President Mnangagwa recommending him to set up a tribunal to investigate Justice Ndewere.

Once the President sets a tribunal, the judge will be automatically suspended by operation of law.

If she is cleared by the tribunal she will return to work but if found wanting she could be fired.

She becomes a second judge to be suspended through a tribunal after Supreme Court judge Justice Francis Bere was removed by a tribunal in March for alleged misconduct and the tribunal is currently compiling a report to forward to President Mnangagwa.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Virginia Mabhiza said the decision was in line with the constitution.

“The JSC has referred to the President a recommendation to set up a tribunal to inquire into the question of removal of Justice Erica Ndewere.

She continued: “A tribunal will be set up soon and in terms of the constitution the judge will be suspended once the tribunal has been constituted.”

While Mabhiza could not give details about the allegations against Justice Ndewere, sources said she is being persecuted for granting Sikhala bail.

They accused Mnangagwa of using the law to persecute those opposing his views.

Sikhala, a lawyer-cum politician had been denied bail by a magistrates’ court before he approached the High Court with an appeal which Justice Ndewere upheld and blasted police for failing on their investigative role saying the law enforcement agents relied on social media other than establishing their own probe.

The judge concurred with Sikhala that when he spent about two weeks in hiding he was not running from the law but from unidentified men who pursued him.

The judge however barred Sikhala from using social media saying he shouldn’t post any audios or videos inciting violence, not address any physical or virtual meetings

Meanwhile, a tribunal is not a criminal court, but can report that certain conduct is not consistent with holding judicial office.


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Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=56783

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