Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
FORMER Bulawayo High Court senior judge Justice Francis Bere has been elected president of the Sadc Administrative Tribunal (SadcAT) during the court’s elections held in Gaborone, Botswana on Monday.
Justice Bere, who was recently elevated to the Supreme Court, joined the seven-member bench of the SadcAT last year in April.
His appointment to the SadcAT is for a period of two years, which is renewable once in accordance with the Sadc administrative statutes.
He takes over the presidency of the regional court from Eswatini High Court judge Justice Mbutfo Mamba.
In an interview from Gaborone yesterday, Justice Bere said during his tenure of office he would strive to ensure that there is promotion of transparency in the administration of the affairs of SadcAT.
“I am humbled by my election to the presidency of this regional court. I wish to assure my fellow judges and all stakeholders that there shall be continuity and transparency in the administration of the affairs of SadcAT. I also would like to pay particular tribute to our outgoing president Honourable Justice Mbutfo Mamba from Eswatini and her deputy, Her Ladyship Justice Fulgency Chisanga of Zambia for the sterling work they did in the inchoate stage of our court,” he said.
Justice Bere was appointed to the SadcT during the Sadc Council of Ministers which was held in Ezulwini, Swaziland between March 15 and 16 last year.
He was subsequently sworn in three months later in Gaborone, Botswana.
The SadcAT came into effect at the Sadc Summit in Botswana in August 2015, which passed a resolution approving its formal establishment, succeeding the controversial Sadc Tribunal whose judgments were vehemently opposed by Zimbabwe.
The Sadc Administrative Tribunal replaces the Sadc Tribunal, which was formed in 2010 and dissolved at the 32nd Sadc Summit in Mozambique in 2012 after concerns were raised that it was straying from its original mandate.
Justice Bere together with Constitutional and Supreme Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu were last year appointed adjudicators for Sadc and Comesa courts.
Justice Bhunu was seconded to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Court of Justice. The Comesa Court of Justice was established in 1994 as one of the organs of Comesa created under Article 7 of the Comesa Treaty as its judicial arm.
Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) acting secretary, Mr Walter Chikwana, said the appointment of the two top judges was a reflection of confidence in the country’s judiciary system by the region. — @mashnets