It's not about money — Judge candidates

HARARE - Veteran lawyers, aspiring to be High Court judges, said they were driven by passion to dump lucrative jobs in the private sector to join the ranks of poorly-paid judges in public service.

One of the candidates, William Erik Morris, who is part of the 46 that were shortlisted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to fill six vacant High Court Judges posts, said he can now afford to live a lower standard of life as a judge considering that his children were all grown up.

The public interviews, conducted in line with the new Constitution, were held at a Harare hotel yesterday.

The interviews, open to members of the public, will run up to Saturday.

At least 13 prospective judges were grilled by a panel that was chaired by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

The CJ posed three standard questions to each prospective applicant. They were asked  how they would bridge the gap between being a legal practitioner and assuming a new role as a judge. They were further asked of any cases that they had dealt with assisted in the development and setting of precedence and why they wanted to join JSC considering the “unattractive” working conditions offered to judges.

Morris told the panel that he has been in practice for the past 43 years, 26 of which he practised as an advocate.

The 66-year-old exhibited confidence, claiming the four years before his retirement age would bring a difference in the judiciary, adding that he did not want the job for monetary gains.

His appearance before the panel was preceded by another veteran lawyer Tawanda Chitapi, who has been in legal practice for the past 27 years.

Chitapi, who boasts of vast experience in the legal profession, said he looked at the career as a calling and said he did not believe money and benefits should always be the ultimate consideration.

He said being a judge was the pinnacle of the practice of law.

Another veteran lawyer Davison Foroma, who boasts of 32 years in the profession, was also interviewed, after which came Fredrick Gijima — who represented President Robert Mugabe in election petitions filed by Morgan Tsvangirai after the July 31 polls last year.

Both Foroma and Gijima said they would like to have a taste of the other side.

Gijima, who successfully represented Mugabe, was asked if this was not going to influence his impartiality, independence and objectivity, if he was to be appointed a judge. He said he would be apolitical and would be guided by the Constitution.

One of the candidates Joel Mambara, who has 14 years’ experience in private practice, said he had the passion to work as a judge, adding that he had been working as an independent arbitrator and knew how to handle some of the issues.

Chidyausiku asked the lawyer in jest why he was called “Mambara” or troublemaker.

“Are you going to be a Mambara that side?” he asked, drawing laughter from the panellists and members of the public.

Sampson Mlaudzi, 68, was asked if it was going to make any difference for him to be appointed a judge, considering that he would have to retire at 70.

“I do not think after two years, I would be thrown into the dustbin,” he said.

Another candidate, Tawanda Muchineripi, said that he had 15 years’ experience, though he admitted that he had never handled Supreme Court or Constitutional Court matters.

Nyaradzo Manongwa Munangati also appeared before the interviewing panel. She said she was a force to reckon with in the legal fraternity and was suitable for the post of a judge.

Some of the prospective judges that were interviewed in yesterday’s session were Edith Mushore, Kate Catherine Muzawazi, Greyson Nyoni, Clara Phiri and Clement Phiri.

Comments (5)

It's not about the money but about getting FREE farms like all the other Judges have got in the past.

Musona - 30 October 2014

1 The alleged low wages for state legal officials is pure fiction. The 'fringe' benefits is the real attraction of the job. They get fancy vehicles, free wigs, grass skirts, optical apparatus, robes and other attire. Of course a free farm or two is also a substantial benefit supplemented with implements and crops plundered from the descendents of “wicked white settlers” that brought the country from the stone-age to where it was in1980. Then there is the 'prestige' that they like to flout around. A big attraction is the backhand. It is common knowledge that judges, prosecutors and magistrates can easily be bought. Like Zanu pf politicians, the judiciary is accountable to no one. Naturally a Zanu pf membership card is mandatory and any “non-indigenous” applicant will be automatically excluded.

Mberembere Jengaenga - 31 October 2014

II The International Bar Association suggests that judgments in Zimbabwe should be published as cartoons. Legal acumen has nothing to do with getting a posting. Meritocracy is unheard of in the Zanu pf dictionary - mediocrity prevails widely in Zimbabwe. Academic qualifications in Zimbabwe are well known to be useless - con artistes / quacks like to be called “Doctor / Professor etc.” . In recent times Patrick Chinamasa disclosed his contempt for the standard of legal training in Zimbabwe. Unsurprisingly, only one educational facility in Zimbabwe ranks in the top 100 (98th) institutions in the SADC region. Justice Chinembiri Bhunu (aka the Bindura Banger) and Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku are examples poor jurisprudence by these 'judicial super-heroes'. The former, even after twelve years, apparently cannot define “a reasonable period of time”. The latter loses trial papers and still has not passed a sentence ten years too late. Note that non of the applicants have declared their respective Intelligence Quotients (IQ's) The IQ's of the present judicial members has been assessed to be a remarkable 72 by a qualified actuary. The ongoing saga of the perpetual despotic African banana republic continues unabated.

Mberembere Jengaenga - 31 October 2014

After all has been said and done life goes on. we need to think of the future. look trade sanctions have been removed by EU and Western countries including the UK are sending business delegations to our beloved country. Dont be left out. start your own business. we will help you register a company here in Zimbabwe. we will also help you with all the required processes to enable you to start operating. call us 0771 419 294 or 0776 228 760 email flixcomsol@gmail.com

Flixcom Solutions - 31 October 2014

Self-promoters, fraudsters and scammers should NOT use this column for self-promotion or other self-servicing endeavours. Typical retarded Zimbos do this. . . .

Adiona Masawi - 31 October 2014

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