PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has fired High Court judge, Justice Erica Ndewere, after a tribunal set up to inquire into her suitability to hold a judicial office recommended that she be removed from the bench for gross incompetence.
A three-member tribunal led by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako, made recommendations for the judge’s removal from the esteemed bench after a fully contested tribunal hearing.
Justice Ndewere becomes the second judge to be fired under President Mnangagwa’s administration after Supreme Court Judge, Justice Francis Bere, was sacked for gross misconduct in October last year.
She was accused of gross misconduct in the performance of her duties, including failure to clear her workload in reasonable time and failure to properly study the file on a thief’s conviction and sentence when she set aside a jail term.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda announced the dismissal of Justice Ndewere in a statement yesterday.
“The tribunal has presented its findings to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, in terms of Section 187(7) of the Constitution,” he said.
“The tribunal has recommended that Honourable Justice Ndewere be removed from the office for gross incompetence.
“His Excellency, the President has accordingly, in terms of Section 187(7) of the Constitution, removed Honourable Justice Erica Ndewere from office with immediate effect.”
Justice Ndewere had denied the charges against her claiming that Chief Justice Luke Malaba was pursuing her after she defied his unlawful orders.
She even made several unsuccessful interlocutory applications to quash the inquiry, including contesting the legality of the tribunal appointed to probe her suitability to continue in office after she openly accused the head of the Judiciary of employing double standards.
The Constitution provides that a judge may be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, due to mental or physical incapacity, or gross incompetence, or gross misconduct.
In October last year, Justice Bere was fired for interfering with a Harare lawyer involved in a matter in which he had interest.
The judge telephoned the lawyer, who was representing Zinara, asking him to consider settling a civil dispute pitting Zinara against Fremus Enterprises.
The tribunal sought to establish whether or not Justice Bere conducted himself improperly in violation of the oath of office and the Constitution by interfering in the matter at the centre of the inquiry.