#Protect Judicial Independence in Zimbabwe #DefendJudicialIndependence
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Judicial Independence under attack in Zimbabwe: Help us protect Judicial Independence#DefendJudicialIndependence
The Government of Zimbabwe has proposed to amend the constitution through Constitutional Amendment No.1 Bill, which seeks to change the more democratic Judiciary Appointment Procedures contained in Section 180 of the Constitution.
This proposal has caused an outcry as it comes at a time when the Constitution, which is still young and new has yet to be implemented and it also has the potential to subvert the much cherished norm of judiciary independence in democratic states.
Section 180 of the Constitution provides for procedures of appointing the judiciary which are participatory in nature (Section 180 is contained in the new Constitution which came to force in 2013). These procedures provide for the involvement of the public in the nomination of the candidates including interviews which are also open to the members of the public. With regards to the appointment of the Chief Justice, the Judiciary Service Commission carries out the interviews and short list three (3) candidates for final selection by the President.
This system without doubt ensures the legitimacy of the members of the judiciary and goes a long way in safeguarding not only the independence and impartiality of the judiciary but gives space to Zimbabweans to participate in shaping the composition of their judiciary and inspires public confidence in the Judiciary . This process of appointment was already underway last year when in December 2016, litigation was mounted in the High Court and a Provisional Order was granted interdicting the Judiciary Service Commission from carrying out the processes of appointing a new Chief Justice in accordance with the provisions of Section 180 of the Constitution. Hence the process of choosing the Chief Justice was stopped immediately so as to await the outcome of the proposal of Amendment No.1. This decision by the High Court was a serious assault on constitutionalism since the clear, unambiguous provisions of the Constitution were ignored and deference given to an anticipated EXECUTIVE POLITICAL PROCESS. The Judiciary Service Commission appealed against the Provisional Order to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe while Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers applied as interveners, Beatrice Mtetwa and the law society applied as Amicus Curae and were granted. The Appellants were eventually granted relief that they were seeking. The executive through the Minister has however continued in its efforts in proposing to amend section 180 of the Constitution through Amendment number 1.
HELP US DEFEND OUR JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE BY SIGNING THIS PETITION WHICH WOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE TO SHOW OUR DISPLEASURE AT THIS DEVELOPMENT. IT IS UP TO US TO DEFEND THE JUDICIARY SO THAT IT IS NOT SUBJECTED TO IMPROPER INFLUENCE FROM OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, OR PRIVATE OR PARTISAN INTERESTS.
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