Supreme Court of Zimbabwe
The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe is the highest court in all matters in Zimbabwe, which are not constitutional in nature. It is the court of last resort and the highest court of appeal in Zimbabwe. Its operations are governed by the Constitution and the Supreme Court Act [Chapter 7:13]
The Supreme Court is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The court consists of at least four members including the Chief Justice. Currently there are 13 justices. The Chief Justice is also the head of Zimbabwe’s judiciary..
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is provided for in section 169 of the Constitution, which states that the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for Zimbabwe, except in matters over which the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction..
The composition of the Supreme Court is provided for in section 168 of the Constitution. The section states that the court should be composed of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice and no fewer than two other justices of the Supreme Court. If the services an additional justice are required on the Supreme Court for a limited period of time, the Chief Justice is allowed by the constitution to appoint a judge of the High Court, or a former judge to act as a judge of the Supreme Court.
The justices are not subject to term limits, but like all Zimbabwean judges, Supreme Court justices are obligated to retire at age 70 in accordance with the Consitution of Zimbabbwe.
The Justices of the Supreme Court in Order of seniority are:
- Godfrey Chidyausiku (appointed 2001)
- Luke Malaba (appointed 2001)
- Vernanda Ziyambi (appointed 2001)
- Elizabeth Gwaunza (appointed 2002)
- Paddington Garwe (appointed 2006)
- Rita Makarau (appointed 2006)
- Marie-Anne Gowora (appointed 2012)
- Ben Hlatshwayo (appointed 2013)
- Bharatkumar Patel (appointed 2013)
- Antonia Guvava (appointed 2013)
- Susan Mavangira (appointed September 16th, 2016)
- Tendai Uchena (appointed September 16th, 2016)
- Chinembiri Bhunu (appointed September 16th, 2016) .
The Judicial Services Commission, in terms of Section 180 of the Constitution, is mandated to advertise any vacancies arising on the Supreme Court and to invite the President and members of the public to nominate suitable candidates. After nominations, the JSC conducts public interviews for the prospective judges. During the interviews, the JSC deliberates on the performance of the interviewees and later sends its recommendations to the President.
After the interviews, deliberations are done in private and a lot of issues are considered in arriving at a list of successful candidates. Deliberations on the suitable nominees will take into account the performance at the interview, any comments from the Law Society of Zimbabwe, any other relevant organizations and or the public as well as the information supplied by the nominees in a detailed questionnaire. Deliberations on the final list of suitable nominees also takes into account the diverse and gender composition of Zimbabwe.
For each vacancy, the commission submits three names of successful candidates and the President will make a final appointment. JSC chairperson, the Chief Justice or his deputy chairs the public interviews..
The Supreme Court is housed at Mashonganyika Building — which it shares with the Constitutional Court — along Samora Machel avenue in Harare. The Supreme Court permanently sits at Harare although it occasionally sits in Bulawayo on circuit.
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