President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Spokesperson George Charamba has defended a private meeting between Judicial Service Commission (JSC) head of secretariat Walter Chikwana and Supreme Court judge, Justice Webster Chinamhora ahead of the embattled Chief Justice Luke Malaba matter hearing.
When information that the two had a meeting came to light, Justice Chinamhora had to recuse himself from the three-judge panel before it heard an application seeking the arrest of Malaba for defying a High Court ruling that he was no longer CJ.
Meanwhile, Charamba has defended the meeting despite its implications on the pending matter.
More so with reports that there was a ploy to influence outcome.
Charamba recently wrote:
“GET ME TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING GUYS: How does it become an issue that a judge – any judge of the Supreme Court for that matter – meets the administrator of the Court??
“Just what is the role of the Secretary of the court?? Maybe I am naive, which is why I seek deliverance from higher wisdom.”
Charamba through his ghost Twitter account, Jamwanda asks that if the two can not meet before such a case then when would it be well for them to meet.
“And on which day is it safe for the Secretary of the Court to meet a judge???” He said.
Apparently, critics say the meeting between Justice Chinamhora and Chikwana was meant to put pressure on the judges ahead of the hearing, potentially compromising the judges.
Meanwhile, Malaba has reportedly ordered the probing of Chikwana’s conduct following human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa’s plea.
And in response to her letter, Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza indicated that Malaba had already ordered a similar probe.
“On the instructions of the honourable Chief Justice L Malaba, please be advised that the JSC has commenced investigations into the matter concerning the meeting you referred to, as well as the concerned judges’ recusal from the case in question.
“This is being done in accordance with the relevant regulations and procedures. Kindly also note that the issue of the JSC secretary Mr Chikwana, deposing to affidavits on behalf of the JSC in various litigation, is currently the subject of an appeal before the Supreme Court,” said Justice Gwaunza.
In her letter on Monday, Mtetwa pointed out that the allegations that Chikwana met Chinamhora ahead of the court sitting raised questions about the independence of the Judiciary.