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JUSTICE minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has defended under fire Chief Justice Luke Malaba, telling parliament Wednesday the country’s topmost judge was not interfering with the judicial system.
Malaba is under siege from his juniors among High Court and Supreme Court judges who have written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying he was an overbearing boss who was interfering with judgements in their courts.
But responding to Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala during parliament’s question and answer session Wednesday, Ziyambi defended Malaba and also denied wide claims the country’s courts were captured.
“If the honourable member feels that there is interference in so far as the functioning of the judiciary is concerned, he can favour me with whatever interference he feels is being done.
“As far as I am concerned, the judiciary is so much independent to do whatever they want and I cannot even interfere with their work myself,” said Ziyambi.
The minister said the country’s Constitution guaranteed the independence of the judiciary.
He said even the Chief Justice could not interfere with whatever judges and magistrates were doing in their courts.
“That is enshrined in the Constitution. There are also several provisions that insulate our judicial officers so that in the exercise of their duty, they must feel safe from whatever victimisation that they may encounter.
“It also extends to the provision regarding their removal – where the President would be requested to set up a tribunal to investigate that question against specific parameters,” Ziyambi said.
Sikhala had questioned Ziyambi over claims Malaba was bullying his juniors through interference with their cases.
Ziyambi said he had not seen the letter of complaint penned to the President by disgruntled judges.
“Coming to the so called memo, I have not seen the memo and I would like honourable Sikhala to favour me with that so that I can study it and see how it is interfering with the functions of our judicial officers,” he said.
This also comes after suspended Justice Erica Ndewere has claimed victimisation and interference in her work by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Malaba is head of JSC.
Weeks ago, Malaba withdrew a circular in which he directed approval and revision of judgements before being passed.