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Judges who ended Malaba’s tenure are no pushovers



JUSTICE Jester Helena Charewa, one of the three High Court judges on a brave judicial panel that dramatically blocked Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s controversial tenure extension a fortnight ago, has a military background, adding to the reasons President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his allies were uncomfortable with the bench.
The panel, which also included the fiercely independent Justice Happias Zhou and Justice Edith Kuda Mushore, an experienced practitioner who has worked at The Hague in the Netherlands and at the House of Commons at Westminister in London, ruled that Malaba’s tenure as Chief Justice ended when he turned 70 on 15 May.
The ruling dealt a body blow to Mnangagwa’s power consolidation project ahead of the 2023 elections. The President, as exposed by The NewsHawks in a series of articles, wants Malaba to be the head of the judiciary so that he has an allay in case the 2023 elections are decided in court as was the case in the 2018 polls.
Before the judges heard an application by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika – consolidated with that of the Zimbabwe Young Lawyers Association – against the extension of superior courts judges’ tenures, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the pro-Mnangagwa Judicial Services
Commission tried in vain to block the justices from hearing the case, fearing they would scuttle the power consolidation plan.
The JSC questioned why Judge President George Chiweshe, a war veteran and retired major-general, was not cited in the court application. Chiweshe, seen as Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s ally, was the vice-president’s deputy in Zanla’s political commissariat during the liberation struggle. Mnangagwa’s allies believe Chiweshe was keen on derailing the power consolidation project, hence his appointment of the no-nonsense and brave panel.
The constitutional amendments, The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.2) Act, affect Chiwenga as they remove the running mate clause, which leaves him a weak and vulnerable Mnangagwa appointee, although he installed him in power through the 2017 military coup.
Curriculum vitaes seen by The NewsHawks show that Justice Charewa, like her boss Justice Chiweshe, was also a senior army official where she served for 10 years between 1985 and 1995.
Between 1990 and 1995, she was the chief legal officer at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces where she was head of the Department of Research, Legal Drafting and Training.
She joined the military as a captain in 1985, having served as a professional assistant at Higham, Lewis and Lock (now Henning Lock Donagher and Winter Legal Practitioners) in Mutare.
After leaving the military, Justice Charewa went into private practice as a partner at Mucharehwa and Partners. During her time in private practice, she was also a lecturer in Civil Practice and Procedure at the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Law.
In 2008, she joined the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, as a senior legal officer before becoming a special assistant to the president and later deputy registrar.
She was appointed a High Court judge in September 2015.
Justice Charewa holds a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Bachelor of Laws degree from the UZ and a Master of Science in International Relations, also from the UZ.
She has also undertaken several courses with institutions such as the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, African Court on Human and People’s Rights, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the International Organisation for Migration, among others.
Justice Mushore, a sharp legal mind, was a long-time advocate based at the Advocates Chambers in Harare.
From 1993 to 1999, she was the legal adviser (Africa) of the International Organisation of Consumer Unions at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Between 1987 and 1989, she was a parliamentary research assistant at the House of Commons. Before that, she had served as the corporate legal adviser for Old Mutual.

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