Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo, said to be one of the leaders of the G40 faction of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, says it is ugly propaganda to say that the proposed amendment to the national constitution will empower the President to appoint the chief justice, deputy chief justice and the judge president because he already has that power.
The government has announced that it is amending the constitution, only adopted three years ago, to allow the President to appoint the three key judges and has stopped public interviews that were supposed to be conducted this month.
Four candidates had been short-listed but apparently one of the judges who is believed to be the party favourite was not among the four.
Sources say the judge was advised not to apply.
In a 10-point tweet, Moyo says while the constitution is amendable, any amendment should be based on truth, substantive reasons and public interest.
He says that the claim that section 180 of the constitution is a Movement for Democratic Change provision is false. Instead the proposed amendment is closer to MDC position.
The MDC COPAC position had the President nominating and approval was with Senate after confirmation hearing but this was rejected. Instead it was agreed to have transparency in all judiciary appointments.
The proposed amendment takes away transparency in the appointment of the chief justice, the deputy chief justice and judge president and controversially involves Senate, he argues.
“It’s ugly propaganda that proposed amendment will EMPOWER Pres to appoint CJ, DCJ & JP: he has that power now!” Moyo tweeted.
“Under proposed Amendment the same maligned JSC juniors will still recommend seniors BUT without transparency!
“It’s not right to embolden or create opposition to ZANU-PF in 2017 thru an unnecessary Constitutional Amendment!
“There’s no TRUTH, no SUBSTANTIVE REASON & no PUBLIC INTEREST warranting amendment of s180 of the Constitution!
“From 1999 to 2013 Zimbos were badly divided over a new Constitution. It’s wrong to bring those divisions back!”
Section 180 of the constitution clearly states that “The chief justice, the deputy chief justice, the judge president of the High Court and all other judges are appointed by the President in accordance with this section.”
Below is the section is full:
180 Appointment of judges
(1) The Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, the Judge President of the High Court and all other judges are appointed by the President in accordance with this section.
(2) Whenever the office of a judge referred to in subsection (1) is vacant or it is otherwise necessary to appoint such a judge, the Judicial Service Commission must—
(a) advertise the position and invite applications;
(b) invite the President and the public to make nominations;
(c) conduct public interviews of prospective candidates;
(d) prepare a list of three qualified persons as nominees for the office; and
(e) submit the list to the President;
whereupon, subject to subsection (3), the President must appoint one of the nominees to the office concerned.
(3) If the President considers that none of the persons on the list submitted to him in terms of subsection (2)(e) are suitable for appointment to the office, he or she must require the Judicial Service Commission to submit a further list of three qualified persons, whereupon the President must appoint one of the nominees to the office concerned.
(4) The President must cause notice of every appointment under this section to be published in the Gazette.