Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed two High Court judges to the Supreme Court bench and they will today take oaths of office at the Constitutional Court at Mashonganyika Building in Harare.
The newly appointed judges are Senior Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere and Justice Lavender Makoni who will fill two of the four vacant posts at the Supreme Court.
Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Acting Secretary, Mr Walter Chikwanha confirmed the appointments.
“I can confirm the appointment of Justices Bere and Makoni to the Supreme Court by the President. They will be sworn in by the Chief Justice at the Constitutional Court at 10AM,” he said.
Justice Bere is the head of the Bulawayo arm of the High Court of Zimbabwe and worked as a senior regional magistrate for the Western region before being appointed president of the Administrative Court.
He was appointed High Court judge in 2004 before his elevation to be Senior Judge High Court, Bulawayo, in 2015.
Justice Makoni was appointed High Court Judge in 2002 and is the head of the Civil Division at the High Court.
The appointment of the two senior judges follows public interviews held on September 29, 2016, where eight judges were shortlisted to fill the four vacant posts at the Supreme Court.
Two judges from the Bulawayo High Court, justices Nicholas Mathonsi and Francis Bere joined six other justices Priscilla Makanyara Chugumba, Alfas Muvavarigwa Chitakunye, Charles Hungwe, Samuel Kubopa Kudya, Joseph Martin Mafusire and Lavender Makoni for the interviews.
Their appointment has dragged on since 2016, despite the constitution requiring that all constitutional obligations be fulfilled without delay.
Opening the legal year in January, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, speaking on the appointment of eight High Court judges, called on the appointing authority to expeditiously appoint Supreme Court judges to ease pressure of work on the sitting members.
Turning to the eight High Court judges appointed by President Mnangagwa last December, Mr Chikwanha said they had already begun work at the High Court in Harare.
“They are based at the High Court in Harare. Deployment is done by the judge president but what I can confirm is that they are now at work. Deployment is entirely up to the judge president it’s up to him and it’s an ongoing process,” said Mr Chikwanha.
The eight are Labour Court judge Justice Philda Muzofa, University of Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturer Ms Sylvia Chirawu and Messrs Pisirayi Kwenda, Neville Wamambo, Thompson Mabhikwa, Benjamin Chikowero, Jacob Manzunzu and Isaac Muzenda.
The JSC in its endeavour to make justice accessible last week opened a new High Court station in Mutare bringing the number to four, including Bulawayo High Court, Masvingo High Court and Harare High Court. — @AuxiliaK