Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese has inadvertently saved President Emmerson Mnangagwa from imminent embarrassment by resigning after a tribunal was set up to probe him.

This was after Mnangagwa swore in members of a tribunal appointed to investigate Makonese’s fitness to hold office.

Mnangagwa had appointed a conflicted panel to probe acts of misconduct which are rooted in corruption driven by conflict of interest on the part of the judge.

This was irony writ large.

Makonese quit immediately after Mnangagwa swore in the tribunal chaired by retired Justice Simbi Mubako.

Among other things, Makonese was accused of presiding over cases in which he had personal and financial interests, while failing to recuse himself when conflicted in some cases.

He becomes the fifth judge to leave office of late a result of tribunal investigations over misconduct and corruption issues.

As a result, the Zimbabwean judiciary has come under new scrutiny, with questions being raised about how judges are actually appointed – that some of them are not appointed on merit, but on political, patronage and nepotism grounds.

The judiciary has also become politically compromised and corrupt, which is reflected by some of these investigations that have unearthed the rot.