Judges’ ap­point­ments to in­volve public

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Daniel Ne­mukuyu Harare Bureau

OR­DI­NARY Zim­bab­weans can now in­flu­ence and de­ter­mine the suit­abil­ity or oth­er­wise of aspir­ing judges by com­ment­ing on their be­hav­iour ahead of public interviews for ap­point­ment to the bench.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­cently pub­lished Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion guide­lines on ap­point­ment of judges, the list of can­di­dates are pub­lished be­fore the interviews to al­low in­di­vid­u­als with ad­verse in­for­ma­tion about the nom­i­nees to di­vulge it to as­sist the na­tion in se­lect­ing qual­ity judges.

If a nom­i­nee con­ducts him or her­self un­pro­fes­sion­ally or in some way that does not suit some­one of the sta­tus of a judge, those with such in­for­ma­tion are called upon to in­form the JSC be­fore the public interviews are con­ducted.

JSC re­cently pub­lished guide­lines fol­lowed in the ap­point­ment of judges, in its quest to pro­mote trans­parency and con­sti­tu­tion­al­ism.

A 12-page book­let ti­tled Guide­lines on the Ap­point­ment of Judges was pub­lished ahead of the public interviews of eight High Court judges vy­ing for four va­cant po­si­tions in the Supreme Court. The interviews have been set for Septem­ber 29. The JSC also sends the list of nom­i­nees to the Law So­ci­ety of Zim­babwe and other rel­e­vant or­gan­i­sa­tions for com­ments on the per­son­al­ity of the can­di­dates, who are all lawyers.

Ac­cord­ing to the guide­lines, JSC will not con­sider ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tions against can­di­dates that are brought up anony­mously.

Can­di­dates are in­formed of the ad­verse com­ments made against them and they are also given an op­por­tu­nity to de­fend them­selves.

“Nom­i­nees will be in­formed of any ad­verse com­ments re­ceived from mem­bers of the public and may be ques­tioned about them at the in­ter­view with a view to de­ter­min­ing whether or not the ad­verse com­ments will have a bear­ing on the nom­i­nee’s pro­bity,” the guide­lines read.

The public also plays an in­te­gral role in the nom­i­na­tion of the aspir­ing judges. The nom­i­nated can­di­dates also need to sign on the nom­i­na­tion form as con­fir­ma­tion that they will be in­ter­ested.

JSC, in terms of Sec­tion 180 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, is man­dated to ad­ver­tise any va­can­cies aris­ing on the bench and to in­vite the Pres­i­dent and mem­bers of the public to nom­i­nate suit­able can­di­dates.

The same com­mis­sion con­ducts public interviews for the prospec­tive judges, de­lib­er­ates on the per­for­mance of the in­ter­vie­wees and later sends its rec­om­men­da­tions to the Pres­i­dent.

Af­ter the interviews, de­lib­er­a­tions are done in pri­vate and a lot of is­sues are con­sid­ered in ar­riv­ing at a list of suc­cess­ful can­di­dates.

“De­lib­er­a­tions on the suit­able nom­i­nees will take into ac­count the per­for­mance at the in­ter­view, any com­ments from the Law So­ci­ety of Zim­babwe, any other rel­e­vant or­gan­i­sa­tions and or the public as well as the in­for­ma­tion sup­plied by the nom­i­nees in the de­tailed ques­tion­naire.

“De­lib­er­a­tions on the fi­nal list of suit­able nom­i­nees shall take into ac­count the di­verse and gen­der com­po­si­tion of Zim­babwe which the ju­di­ciary must re­flect,” reads the book­let.

For each va­cancy, the com­mis­sion submits three names of suc­cess­ful can­di­dates and the Pres­i­dent will make a fi­nal ap­point­ment.

JSC chair­per­son, Chief Jus­tice God­frey Chidyausiku or his deputy chairs the public interviews.

All com­mis­sion­ers, who will be part of the panel, are given an op­por­tu­nity to ask ques­tions to the in­ter­vie­wees.

Aspir­ing judges, ac­cord­ing to the guide­lines, must be com­pe­tent, hard­work­ing, in­de­pen­dent, com­mit­ted to com­mu­nity and public ser­vice and knowl­edge­able among other qual­i­ties.

Com­mis­sion­ers will in­de­pen­dently score each nom­i­nee on each of the above qual­i­ties be­fore they sit to de­lib­er­ate on the per­for­mances as a group.

High Court judges Jus­tices Fran­cis Bere, Priscilla Chigumba, Al­fas Chi­takunye, Charles Hungwe, Sa­muel Kudya, Joseph Ma­fusire, Laven­der Makoni and Ni­cholas Mathonsi will on Septem­ber 29 be in­ter­viewed for four va­can­cies that arose in the Supreme Court.

Their names have since been pub­lished.

Chief Jus­tice God­frey Chidyausiku

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.