Reporter- Lovemore Lubinda

Justice Luke Malaba has been appointed the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, by President Robert Mugabe with effect from 27 March 2017.

The Judicial Service Commission has since confirmed the appointment.

Constitutional watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe has since congratulated the learned judge for his appointment, which it describes as a fitting culmination to a distinguished judicial carrier.

Renowned lawyer Tendai Biti also says the appointment proves that President Robert Mugabe did a wonderful job by sticking to the law. He describes the appointment as a well deserved and earned that would change the judicial discourse of the country for the better.

Another lawyer Douglas Mwonzora also welcomed the appointment saying the judge has exhibited professionalism in the way he discharged his duties.

Even the vocal Professor Jonathan Moyo also chipped in saying the appointment was constitutional; “Malaba appointed CJ, a great appointment by President Mugabe and a victory for the rule of law,” he says.

Justice Malaba was one of the shortlisted for the job after having gone for the public interviews last year where he came up tops ahead of other candidates who were Justice Rita Makarau and Paddington Garwe.

This procedure is in line with section 180 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, and applies to all judicial appointments. The section obliges the JSC whenever a judicial appointment is required to advertise the vacant position and invite the President and members of the public to make nominations.

The nominated candidates would then go for public interviews, after which names of the successful candidates are sent to the president for him to pick from the list.

The President cannot appoint someone whose name was not submitted by the commission, if he thinks that none from the list is suitable, he can communicate with the JSC so that it comes out with another list of nominees.

Born in 1951, Justice Malaba has a LL.B. (Hons) University of Warwick, UK 1974; LL.B. (University of Zimbabwe 1982). He was registered as a legal practitioner in Zimbabwe on 14 April 1986.

He had worked initially three years as a prosecutor in Bulawayo (1981-84). Justice Malaba is a carrier judicial officer whose magisterial career started at Masvingo in 1984. He rose steadily through the ranks of the magistracy and attained the rank of regional magistrate in 1990.

He was appointed judge of the High Court in 1994, he later got promoted to the Supreme Court in July 2001 and became the country’s first Deputy CJ in July 2008. Justice Malaba has also held an appointment as a judge of the COMESA Court of Justice; he has been acting CJ since the retirement of former CJ Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.