INDEPENDENT Norton MP Temba Mliswa says the judicial system is now compromised after Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi threatened judges who presided over an independent appeal against ousted Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s continued holding of the top court post beyond retirement.
The matter was filed by human rights lawyers and was heard at the High Court last Saturday where the judges ruled it was unconstitutional for Malaba to remain as chief justice.
However, speaking in the House of Assembly Tuesday, outspoken Mliswa urged Ziyambi to resign immediately over the threats he made. He accused the minister of creating a constitutional crisis.
“Mine is on national interest importance. We saw a statement by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi on the judges. My understanding is that in the doctrine of separation of powers which we must all understand, the Judiciary is independent, so is the Executive and Parliament,” he said.
“Each one of us has a role to play. What I understand and what I think the minister (Ziyambi) should do is to come with a ministerial statement to explain why when a matter is sub-judice, he decided to comment on it. Now that the matter has been appealed, already the judges that are handling this matter are already compromised.
“They are under threat. It has never happened where a Minister of Justice who is the father of justice issues a statement like that and goes political in saying that some judges belong to the opposition. We never knew anything that any judge belongs to the opposition as much as we believe that his discharge of duty as a minister is for the interest of the people of Zimbabwe.
“It is important that the minister comes and issues a ministerial statement because there is now a constitutional crisis in the country pertaining to that and it is important that, that statement will be able to get us to understand. Other than that, he must resign but he must be given a chance because his credibility and that of the justice delivery system of Zimbabwe which must exercise judicial prudence has been failed by one person. I think it is important that he does right for the country, puts the country first, and hence his resignation.”
However, Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi told Mliswa to reserve his statements for this Wednesday.
“Honourable Mliswa, I would like to urge you to ask that tomorrow on question time,” she said.
Ziyambi has received widespread condemnation for allegedly politicising the removal of Malaba from office by the judges.
The government has since made an appeal to the Supreme Court over the matter.
Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza is now the Acting Chief Justice. newzimbabwe