Justice Priscilla Chigumba is a judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe and the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Justice Chigumba succeded Justice Rita Makarau as the chairperson of ZEC. Chigumba was appointed the chairperson of ZEC on 31 January 2018.

Justice
Priscilla Chigumba
Justice Priscilla Chigumba.JPG
Born Priscilla
Occupation
  • High Court Judge
Known for Being A High Court Judge, Chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
Predecessor Rita Makarau

Contents

Click Here for Live Updates of Zimbabwe Elections Results

Education

Chigumba attended Goromonzi High School for her O level and then later proceded to St Ignatius High School and obtained 15 Advanced Level points in 1989. She later obtained a Bachelor of Law degree at Kings College, London in the United Kingdom.[1]


Career

After graduating she joined Gollop and Blank law firm in 1994. She practiced as a lawyer for six years before joining PG Industries as assistant company secretary. She later formed her own law firm before joining the Justice and Legal Affairs Ministry as a magistrate in 2004. Chigumba served as a resident magistrate and provincial magistrate before being seconded to work as a senior professional research assistant in the Office of the Chief Justice. She was sworn in as Justice of the High Court on December 20, 2012, by former president Robert Mugabe during the Government of National Unity era.[1]


Suspending the police ban on demonstrations

In 2016 Chigumba reversed a two-week ban on protests issued by the police citing the deteriorating security situation.[2].Police had issued the controversial Statutory Instrument 101 A of 2016 which imposed a ban on all protests in Harare Central policing area.The ban triggered a court challenge filed by PDP leader and lawyer Tendai Biti on behalf of the opposition parties coalescing under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).In her ruling, High Court judge Priscilla Chigumba said the freezing of the police ban was for seven days.


Allegations of soliciting for a $20 000 bribe

It was alleged that Justice Priscilla Chigumba solicited for a $20 000 bribe from one of the parties in a case she was presiding over. Justice Chigumba was grilled by members of the JSC led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku over a complaint that it received to the effect that the judge had sent an agent to solicit for a bribe from a Mr Kanokanga who was one of the parties in a case in which she was presiding over.

Justice Chidyausiku said the JSC had received a written complaint from Mr Kanokanga and said while they had asked Justice Chigumba to make a written response, she was obliged to comment on the allegations since the commission was troubled over the allegations given that she was now seeking higher office.[3]


Mawarire clearance

Justice Chigumba cleared Evan Mawarire, the well-known pastor, activist, and leader of #ThisFlag citizens’ campaign, who shot to prominence in 2016. He had been accused of attempting to overthrow the government and inciting others to commit public violence. Justice Chigumba found in November 2017, that there was no evidence that Mawarire had tried to overthrow the government or the use of violence but that he had urged peace at all times during his campaigns. [4]

Awards

Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association awarded Justice Chugumba in 2011 with the Women Human Rights Defender Award [5] Other legal practitioner recipients of the award include Justice Emilia Muchawa, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Justice Rita Makarau and Professor JStewart and Jessie Majome.

Accusations of bias as ZEC Chairperson

Priscilla Chigumba Wearing Mnagagwa Scarf.jpg

In June 2018, Chigumba was generally accused of being biased for Zanu-PF and Emmerson Mnangagwa by Zimbabweans especially on social media following the circulation of a picture of her wearing a Zimbabwe Flag scarf. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission dismissed the photo as fake and photoshopped:

Desperate criminal political malcontents are on overdrive manufacturing fake news about Zec. Today a fake ballot paper design was circulated and later a Photoshop of Zec chairperson wearing a scarf associated with one political party. This is obviously being done by criminal political elements to destabilise the election process. These people have nothing to say because the process is running smoothly and they want to disturb it. In both instances it was fake news and the public must dismiss it with the contempt it deserves. [6]


Personal Life

Priscilla Chigumba is a mother of four children, two girls, and two boys. [7]


Trivia

Justice Chigumba is a reader and a student of the art of war and the laws of power. She reads Shona and English literature, poetry and Shona culture, particularly “Ugo Hwemadzinza evaShona”. Chigumbas' favorite musician is Oliver Mtukudzi and she also listens to Jah Prayzah and Winky D. Her favorite food is sadza nenyama yakagochwa, vegetables, and chilli. [7]


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Daniel Nemukuyu, President swears in four judges, Herald, published: December 20, 2012, retrieved: September 8, 2016
  2. [1], JUDGE LIFTS POLICE DEMO BAN, Published: 7th September 2016, Retrieved: 31 January 2018
  3. [2], High Court judge who angered Mugabe by allowing demos now accused of soliciting for a bribe , Published: Sep 30, 2016, Retrieved: 30 January 2018
  4. The New ZEC Chairperson, , Published: 31 January 2018 , Retrieved: 1 February 2018
  5. Women Human Rights Defenders Awards, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, published: November 14, 2014, retrieved: September 19, 2016,
  6. Pamela Shumba/Nqobile Tshili, Fake ballot paper sample in circulation, The Chronicle, Published:23 Jun 2018, Retrieved: 24 Jun 2018
  7. 7.0 7.1 Chigumba spells out vision , , Published: 10 February 2018 , Retrieved: 12 February 2018