Harare Chief Justice Luke Malaba brought “disgrace” to the bench after sitting in an appeal court where his judgment was being challenged, lawyers have said.
The incident, back in 2016, has been described as “awkward” by University of Zimbabwe law professor, Lovemore Madhuku.
The information has emerged now as Malaba faces growing accusations of targeting independent judges who defy his “unlawful” orders for dismissal or denial of career growth.
In February 2015, Malaba, sitting with Justices Paddington Garwe and Susan Mavangira at the Supreme Court, heard an appeal by the trustees of the Leonard Cheshire Homes Zimbabwe Central Trust in a matter in which they were seeking the eviction of Robert Chiite and seven others.
Chiite and the seven are physically handicapped and were residents of a rehabilitation home, in which they had been allowed to stay permanently. The trustees passed a resolution to sell the facility and find the residents alternative housing, which they challenged and won at the High Court.
On appeal, the Supreme Court found in favour of the trustees, with Chief Justice Malaba writing the judgement with the concurrence of Garwe and Mavangira.
Chiite and the other residents mounted an appeal at the Constitutional Court – and the Chief Justice was waiting for them there, together with Garwe, Mavangira and six other judges.
Malaba again elected to write the judgement, and unsurprisingly upheld his own judgement given at the Supreme Court with all the other judges concurring.
Professor Welshman Ncube, a constitutional law expert, told ZimLive: “I have no idea why the three judges would sit in a case purporting to be an appeal against their own judgement.” ZimLive