Police ban ruling 'haunts' Chigumba

HARARE - High Court Judge Priscillah Chigumba yesterday conceded that she made an unpopular decision by ruling against a police ban barring opposition political parties and pro-democracy groups from staging protests in central Harare early this month.

Chigumba made these revelations during interviews to select Supreme Court judges where she was stunned by allegations that she had sought a $20 000 bribe in a case involving a Harare businessman.

The interviewing panel, which included Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and his deputy Luke Malaba, asked her some tough questions on the bribery allegations which she spiritedly fought.

Responding to a question from Chidyausiku who asked her whether she had found herself faced with making an unpopular decision, Chigumba mentioned her September 7 ruling which went against the police.

“I recently found myself in such as position involving matter of constitutional rights,” Chigumba replied.

“I did not get a feeling that any decision I made would be unpopular but it was a difficult case to deal with because emotions were high."

“What I did in that matter was that I looked at the law and relied on the law. So when I made (it), I considered the facts of the matter. I tried not to consider either party would be satisfied with my decision . . . in the end, I tried to do what was right and I believe I came out with an even ruling.”

On September 7, Chigumba ruled that Statutory Instrument 101A of 2016 which police had on September 1 used to ban protests was unconstitutional.

“The decision to issue it has no factual basis on these papers which are before me as I have alluded. Having made a finding that SI 101A was made unprocedurally, we must determine its fate in terms of the relief sought . . . I declare that SI 101A of 2016 is invalid to the extent of its inconsistency with the Constitution,” she ruled.

Before Chigumba made her ruling, President Robert Mugabe, in a speech widely interpreted as trying to force judges from allowing demonstrations to take place, said judges were being ‘negligent’ by granting orders to protesters.

“Of course, we can’t allow them (the opposition) to continue with these violent demonstrations unimpeded. Enough is enough,” the increasingly frail nonagenarian thundered.

Yesterday, Chigumba was accused of not being “fit” to be a Supreme Court judge after the interviewing panel produced a letter in which a Harare businessman John Kanokanga made damaging bribery allegations against the judge.

The letter dated September 17, 2016 alleged that in the lead up to a civil matter, Chigumba through an acquaintance, demanded payment of $20 000 from Kanokanga for him to “get a favourable judgment”.

Chidyausiku said the panel felt there were certain aspects of the complaint that had “a ring of truth” which has left the commissioners “really troubled”.

“Unfortunately, as the interviewing committee, we do not have the resources to determine where the truth lies,” Chidyausiku said.

But Chigumba dismissed the accusation and challenged the complainant to produce evidence instead of mere hearsay.

“I want to place it on record that I deny these allegations . . . I want to deny that I, myself, or through an agent solicited, a bribe from  Kanokanga,” Chigumba said.

“I would like Kanokanga to avail evidence against me because an allegation which is baseless and without foundation should not be allowed to influence processes.

Comments (10)

Priscilla Chigumba is now being persecuted for passing a fair ruling against govt, this evil govt is at it again, fabricating stories against the only few judges with integrity. We all know Priscilla passed a very fair judgement and this is only to try and tarnish her image, this chidyausiku person is a zanu guy and we won't tolerate this nonsense of tarnishing the images of the very few fair judges that remain. I salute you Priscilla for that fair judgement, zanu is scared of judges like you that's why they coming up with anything they can to tarnish you name.

misty - 1 October 2016

To Dlabusiku that decision was very bad bczo it exposed his master . He Chidyibusuku is notorious of making worst rulings ever made by our courts so he is jealous of this lady ,and he was left with eggs on his face . You made the most populous decision and the nation salutes you .

Diibulaanyika - 1 October 2016

The nation salutes you judge! our courts of law should be fair and free from political bondage.

Young Zimbo - 1 October 2016

This is not new,,we all know that ones u cross ZANU u are in trouble.Even the judge knew that by giving that ruling she was going to face the music,,that's why she said it was difficult for her to pass a ruling.But I say don't worry amai,,even if they persecute u God will reward u for the truth u stood for.Vana Chadyausiku vanopisika Mugabe nerurimi makwara

matsotsi - 1 October 2016

I salute you Judge Chigumba for your steadfastness in the face of persecution by those opposed to democracy, equity, transparency and fairness. You are not alone in this and we will render you total support in your sterling work to maintain a modicum of professionalism in the Zimbabwe's Judiciary System.

Chief Charumbira - 1 October 2016

shoot the one that eats at night. bara ndiro roga rinopedza nharo muZimbabwe. zvinduwe zvaMugabe izvi zvogoda bara pahuma one time incl Jona.

Rangwana - 1 October 2016

Chigumba should stand her ground and never compromise justice in order to appease the century old dinosaur. She is young and must never tarnish her CV . Humanity is behind you Chigumba.

Joe - 1 October 2016

Faithfull people dont stay long in this world. holding politics constant . It pained me why do people pain innocent souls. Priscilla dont worry God is for all people and he died for all people. Just trust in God,my prayers are with u

Zvarwadza - 1 October 2016

Nobody in authority crosses Mugabe. Not the VP's, the judges or anyone else. Mugabe is a vile dictator but cannot be stopped without the support of SADC and the AU. Their support is critical, without it we aren't going anywhere.

Mbewa - 1 October 2016

Tibili wanetsa

Hatichada - 3 October 2016

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