Justice Mushore tribunal sworn in, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa tribunal hands over report

By Idah Mhetu
A three-member tribunal to probe High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore’s suitability for office has been sworn-in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House this Friday.
The President also received a report from the Justice November Mtshiya-chaired tribunal on its findings regarding suitability of Justice Thompson Mabhikwa to hold judicial office.

The Justice Edith Mushore tribunal will be chaired by Retired Judge Justice Maphios Cheda and other members are Mr Charles Warara and Mrs Yvonne Masvora.

“If a judge is not reporting for duty, they must have a reason whether good or bad but a reasonable reason. As of now I don’t know why the Hon Justice Mushore has not attended to her duties, we will have to find out,” said retired judge Justice Maphios Cheda.

Recommendations to investigate Justice Mushore came from the Judicial Service Commission after she failed to report for duty for nine months since.

The recommendations were done in terms of Section 187 (1) and (3) of the Constitution to determine if the judge is still mentally and physically fit to continue working.

Section 187 (1) of the Constitution provides that a judge may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his or her office due to mental or physical incapacity, gross incompetence or gross misconduct.
By Idah Mhetu

Meanwhile the Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa tribunal led by Retired Judge Justice November Mtshiya, had been investigating the suitability of the suspended Justice Mabhikwa to hold judicial office, following reports of alleged gross misconduct.

Speaking to the media after handing over the Report to President Mnangagwa the Retired Judge, Justice November Mtshiya who led the tribunal said,

“There was cooperation from the Judge and the tribunal never faced any problems both in Bulawayo in Harare,”

The tribunal was established in June last year after pressure had been mounting on the Bulawayo-based judge to step down to preserve the integrity and dignity of the bench following reports he was allegedly involved in an intimate affair with a staff at the High Court.

The three-member panel also included Mr Chaka Mashoko, a lecturer of procedural law and Advocate Phillipa Phillips, a Harare practising lawyer who were also appointed in accordance with Section 187(3) of the Constitution.

The tribunal was also investigating whether or not the Honourable Justice Mabhikwa committed acts of sexual harassment, possessed pornographic material and to investigate any other matters which the tribunal may deem appropriate and relevant to the question of removal from the office of a judge in terms of the law.