As­pi­rant judges to un­dergo ap­ti­tude test

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Fidelis Mun­y­oro Harare Bureau

THE Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion now re­quires as­pir­ing judges to un­dergo an ap­ti­tude test in ad­di­tion to ex­tant nom­i­na­tion pro­ce­dure ahead of in­ter­views for the es­teemed of­fice set for Oc­to­ber 24.

Ap­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours are equally im­por­tant in de­ter­min­ing whether an in­di­vid­ual is a good match for the job and in­sti­tu­tion.

Be­cause of a can­di­date’s prior work ex­pe­ri­ence, it may be easy to de­ter­mine if they have the nec­es­sary skills and ex­pe­ri­ence.

At least 51 can­di­dates have ap­plied to join the High Court bench. The in­ter­views are set to be­gin on Oc­to­ber 24, three days af­ter the ap­ti­tude ex­am­i­na­tion.

In an in­ter­view, JSC sec­re­tary Jus­tice Rita Maka­rau con­firmed the devel­op­ment.

She said all the nom­i­nees for judges’ in­ter­views had been in­vited in writ­ing for the “Be­havioural Test” set for Fri­day in Harare.

“The be­havioural test would be avail­able on 21 Oc­to­ber,” she said.

“The JSC has en­gaged a hu­man re­sources con­sul­tancy firm to con­duct the be­havioural tests for us. We want ob­jec­tiv­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism in the whole process.”

The re­sults from the three-hour ex­am­i­na­tion will not be dis­closed to the pub­lic.

“The im­por­tance of the ex­am­i­na­tion is sim­ply to show the kind of per­son we are meet­ing at the in­ter­views. It will re­veal the as­pi­rant judge’s de­ci­sive­ness on is­sues. It tests your be­hav­iour and shows the kind of per­son you are.”

Prom­i­nent Harare lawyer and se­nior part­ner at Scanlen and Hold­er­ness Mr Stern­ford Moyo com­mended the step taken by the JSC to add value to the se­lec­tion process for judges.

“Although writ­ten examinations are not ex­pressly pro­vided for un­der Sec­tion 180 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, it can be cov­ered un­der the scope of the in­ter­views,” said Mr Moyo.

“There is no lim­i­ta­tion on what a panel in­ter­view­ing can­di­dates can do to gain as much in­for­ma­tion about the can­di­date as pos­si­ble,” he said. Mr Moyo said what was im­por­tant was at­tain­ment of the spirit and ob­ject of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Con­sti­tu­tion, he said, was to en­sure that men and women of com­pe­tency, in­tegrity and in­de­pen­dence were se­lected in a trans­par­ent man­ner.

“In my view, any­thing that en­hances prospects of the process be­ing ef­fec­tive ought to be en­cour­aged bear­ing in mind the fact that where large numbers are in­volved, it may be dif­fi­cult, given time lim­i­ta­tions, to de­cide as to who meets the at­tributes of com­pe­tency, in­tegrity and in­de­pen­dence,” he said.

An­other lawyer Ms Sophia Matimba said such an assess­ment was im­por­tant for any­one who sought to oc­cupy the es­teemed of­fice of a judge of the High Court.

“It’s good be­cause the in­ter­viewer will as­sess whether the in­ter­vie­wee is the right can­di­date for the job based on their past ex­pe­ri­ence and skills,” said Ms Matimba.

“The in­ter­view­ing panel will also be able to as­sess whether or not the in­ter­vie­wee is ly­ing about his or her past ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The in­ter­views for judges next week would be the sec­ond since the com­ing into ef­fect of new Con­sti­tu­tion in May 2013, which pro­vides for pub­lic in­ter­views.

High pro­file women con­test­ing for the eight va­can­cies at the High Court in­clude Ms Sylvia Chi­rawu, the na­tional co-or­di­na­tor of Women and Law in South­ern Africa who teaches fam­ily law and es­tate suc­ces­sion at the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe.

Ms Sheila Nyagumbo-Ma­here, a for­mer di­rec­tor at Musasa Pro­ject — a women’s or­gan­i­sa­tion that deals with do­mes­tic abuse and for­mer non­con­stituency Sen­a­tor is also in the run­ning while Ms Emelia Muchawa is cur­rently a Labour Court judge and for­mer di­rec­tor of the Zim­babwe Women Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

Other women can­di­dates such as Ms Su­san Muchaneta Mu­tan­gadura come with cor­po­rate ex­pe­ri­ence. Ms Mu­tan­gadura is the cur­rent di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Di­rec­tors, while Mrs Bertha Muzangaza is a cor­po­rate lawyer and has sat on the board of the Zim­babwe Min­ing Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

Ms Gla­dys Pise is a for­mer re­gional mag­is­trate and has also worked as coun­sel to the Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe. Male can­di­dates as­pir­ing to be judges of the High Court in­clude Mr Arthur John­son Manase of Manase and Manase, Mr Pisirai Kwenda of Kwenda and As­so­ciates, Mr Maxwell Chi­wanza and Mr Ben­jamin Chikowero, a se­nior part­ner at Gutu Chikowero Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers.

For­mer mag­is­trate and un­der­sec­re­tary at JSC Mr Mu­nam­ato Mutevedzi is also on the can­di­dates’ list.

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