Zimbabwe Challenges Ruling as Justice Minister Ziyambi Risks Arrest

The Zimbabwean government on Monday appealed against a High Court ruling that rejecting the elongation of the chief justice’s tenure by five years in a case that has created a stalemate between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the court.

In a new development, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi could face contempt of court charges after his shocking outburst following last Saturday’s ruling by three High Court judges.   

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

Justice Happias Zhou, Edith Mushore and Helena Charewa said in a judgment that Luke Malaba had ceased being a judge and chief justice after he turned 70 years old. The ruling was a major setback for President Emmerson Mnangagwa whom the opposition accuses of seeking to influence the judiciary.

Ziyambi, who was a litigant in the matter, accused the country’s judiciary of being “captured” by hostile foreign interests and said the ruling was “a typical case of overreach and as government we cannot accept that.”

The director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum who challenged Malaba’s term extension, say they have written to Judge President George Chiweshe, the Registrar of the High Court and the three judges who heard the matter demanding action against the minister.

The High Court ruled on Saturday that Malaba had ceased to hold the role after turning 70.  Now Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and the country’s attorney general have filed appeal papers at the Supreme Court, which is due to hear the matter at a later date.

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