Walter Chikwana was appointed substantive secretary of the Judicial Service Commission with effect from 9 July 2020. Before this he worked as a magistrate in the then Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs from February 1997 to December 2011. After that he worked as the Chief Registrar of the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe from June 2015 and later as Secretary of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe from January 2018 to July 2019 when he was appointed substantive secretary of the Judicial Service Commission.
Accusation of Controlling Magistrates on Case Outcome
The persecution of Job Sikhala, Fadzayi Mahere, Hopewell Chin'ono, Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri is believed to be driven from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office using Tabani Mpofu (SACU) at the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) where Tabani meets with Judicial Service Commission]] of Zimbabwe Executive Secretary Chikwana who directs magistrates.
Involvement in Justice Bere's dismissal case
Sacked Supreme Court Judge Francis Bere contested the recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in November 2020 that a tribunal should inquire into his fitness to hold the office of a judge, the same tribunal that later recommended he be fired. He was fired for gross misconduct after the tribunal, chaired by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako, made recommendations to President Emmerson Mnangagwa that he be relieved of his duties.
Justice Bere, who was represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Advocate Lewis Uriri wanted the Supreme Court to nullify the High Court judgment declining a review of the JSC’s decision to recommend that the President set up a tribunal. In the second case, Bere contested the authority of the person who made the affidavit giving the JSC’s advice, Mr Walter Chikwana, then JSC acting secretary.
Mr Chikwana, who later became the substantive secretary, had been delegated by JSC to file a sworn statement of the commission’s decision advising the President in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe on the question of the tribunal that could recommend removal of Justice Bere from office.
But the lawyers argued that Mr Chikwanha was not one of the members of the JSC in terms of the Constitution, hence he could not represent the commission in a dispute where its performance of the constitutional obligation was being challenged.