Zimbabwe to Appeal High Court Barring of Chief Justice’s Term

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Zimbabwe Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has alleged “foreign interference” in the country’s judiciary following the High Court’s nullification of an extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term of office.

The State will lodge an appeal on Monday to challenge the court ruling, he said. “I want to make it clear that we do not accept the decision of the High Court,” Ziyambi said in an emailed statement late on Saturday. “We have a serious situation of a judiciary that has been captured by foreign forces in this country.”

Ziyambi hinted the country will further look to “transform” the judiciary. He provided no further details.

Three judges ruled that Malaba’s reappointment was invalid because a constitutional amendment last month that raised the retirement age of Constitutional and Supreme Court judges to 75 from 70 was supposed to have gone to a referendum before it become law.

“In view of the decision that we have reached, Honorable Malaba ceased being a judge and chief justice” on Saturday, the judges said in the ruling delivered in the capital, Harare.

The Judicial Services Commission, which employs all judges in the country, said Elizabeth Gwaunza, the deputy chief justice, will assume the acting chief justice role until the outcome of the appeal.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the chief justice’s term for five years on May 12, three days before Malaba turned 70.

Read: Zimbabwe President Extends Chief Justice’s Term by 5 Yrs: Herald

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