Deputy Chief Justice conflicted: Ex-judge

former judge Justice Erica Ndewere

FORMER High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere wants Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza to recuse herself from a case she appealed the decision to remove her from office.

The Supreme Court bench comprising Gwaunza, former Judge President George Chiweshe and Justice Joseph Musakwa sat yesterday to hear her appeal against the decision of the High Court, which denied jurisdiction to review the Mubako tribunal.

Gwaunza told the court that the matter has already been removed from the roll, without reasons.

Sources at the Supreme Court state that Ndewere had asked two Supreme Court judges to recuse themselves from the case.

It is alleged that Gwaunza chaired the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) meeting which dismissed Ndewere at the time Justice Chiweshe was also a member of the JSC.

Ndewere feels that the two Supreme Court judges are conflicted.

Lawyers say it is unlawful for Gwaunza and Chiweshe to preside over a case in which they are interested parties by virtue of being members of JSC.

Ndewere also claims that she was victimised by Chief Justice Luke Malaba after she allegedly refused to implement his instructions to refuse former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira and Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala bail.

Ndewere is challenging her dismissal, arguing that she was singled out for victimisation out of 17 judges who had outstanding judgments.

The Labour Court also declined to deal with her matter after she appealed against the decision of the Mubako tribunal.

The High Court told her that the disciplinary procedures used by JSC to dismiss her were lawful.

The Supreme Court also dismissed Ndewere‘s appeal on the basis that the matter was moot.

Another appeal to the Supreme Court to stop JSC from seizing Ndewere’s official car was struck off the roll as she allegedly failed to seek leave to appeal against the High Court decision.

While judges can recuse themselves from a case, Constitutional Court judges cannot do so as it is the highest court in the land and is presumed to be impartial.

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