A judge in Zimbabwe’s high court who was suspended for misconduct has told the Judicial Service Commission that it does not have jurisdiction to hear a case of misconduct that is being leveled against her.
Justice Erica Ndewere is said to have been under investigation of misconduct since October 2019 and is set to appear before a tribunal.
Ndewere who recently granted bail to one of Zimbabwe’s opposition leaders who was facing criminal charges for organizing a demonstration has said the JSC does not have jurisdiction over sitting High Court judges.
“The Judicial Service Commission does not have the legal authority to deal with complaints raised against the Honourable Ndewere. We direct your attention to statutory Instrument 107 of 2012 and the provisions contained therein. The Chief Justice does not have the authority to direct the Judicial Service Commission to attend to any complaint against a sitting judge of the High Court” said Ndewere through her lawyers.
Analysts have said the charges against Ndewere were fictitious since they only surfaced after Ndewere had granted bail to Job Sikhala and blamed the police for arresting him in the first place.
Sikhala was arrested in August for organizing an Anti-Corruption demonstration dubbed 31 July Movement.
It is believed that Ndewere has disobeyed a direct order from Chief Justice Malaba ordering her not to release Sikhala on bail.
The JSC has since responded denying allegations of persecuting Ndewere for granting Sikhala the bail.
JSC has since released a press statement saying it was misleading for the press and social media to link the removal of Ndewere from the High Court bench to the bail of Sikhala.
The JSC said Ndewere had been under its investigation since march after a complaint against her was first brought up in October 2019.
“The facts of the matter giving rise to the allegations against the judge arose on 22 October 2019. Needless to say, this was many months before the allegations against Honourable Job Sikhalaarose and before he made a bail application at the High Court in September 2020,” read part of the JSC statement.