A high court judge who overturned a police ban on demonstrations earlier this month has now been accused of demanding a bribe, state media reported on Friday.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said on Twitter that Priscilla Chigumba was being “victimised for the progressive judgement allowing demonstrations”.
Chigumba ruled on September 7 that the police ban on anti-government street demonstrations in central Harare was unconstitutional in what was widely welcomed as a victory for human rights activist and opponents of President Robert Mugabe.
But according to the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Friday, Chigumba was accused of soliciting a $20 000-bribe from a man who was party to a separate court case she presided over recently.
The allegation was made by the country’s chief justice, who was chairing a Judicial Service Commission panel to interview high court judges seeking promotion to the country’s top court – the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said that the complainant claimed to have lost his case after he refused to pay a bribe to Chigumba.
“Obviously, the commissioners are really troubled by these allegations,” Chidyausiku said, in quotes carried by Herald.
Chidyausiku suggested a commission of enquiry would be set up by President Robert Mugabe to investigate the judge.
She denied the allegations against her, and said the man making them was known to suffer from a mental disorder.
Commenting on Twitter, former finance minister Tendai Biti said: “The people of Zimbabwe are not fools. One day the country will be free.”