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Justice Minister accused of contempt of court

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has written to the registrar of the High Court in Harare, accusing Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi, Ziyambi of contempt of court following the statement he issued Saturday on the High Court ruling which barred former Chief Justice Luke Malaba from remaining in office.

Harare lawyer who is also the executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Musa Kika, last week filed an urgent court application seeking an order barring then Chief Justice Luke Malaba from remaining at the helm of the country’s judiciary beyond May 15, when he turned 70.

In an application that cited Ziyambi, Malaba and 17 other judges of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, Kika argued that the Constitution was clear that all sitting judges should not benefit from Constitutional Amendment (No.2) which extends the judges’ retirement age from 70 to 75 subject to good health.

Kika won the case resulting in the High Court ruling that Malaba had ceased to be the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe.

This was despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa having extended Malaba’s term of office by five more years.

Unamused by the judgement, Ziyambi issued a statement attacking the judges, adding the government would appeal the ruling Monday.

“We believe that the statement scandalises the court and accordingly, Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is in contempt of court,” said the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, in their letter to the registrar of the High Court dated May 17.  

“We request you that you place this letter before the Judge President as well as the honourable judges who heard the matter. Our client asserts his right to be heard in the proceedings to be commenced by the citation for contempt of court. We draw your attention to the judgment in re Chinamasa 2000 (2) ZLR 322 (SC) which deals with the procedure that must be followed in a matter of this matter.”

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