Zimbabwean lawyers flee tough judges interviews

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SIX more candidates chickened out of the race to become High Court judges, bringing to 17 the number of aspirants, who have quit the public interviews being conducted by the Judicial Service Commission.



Among those who withdrew were former regional magistrate, Munamato Mutevedzi, and senior lawyers, Abigail Masawi, Lois Mukunyadzi, Bongani Ndlovu, Victor Ruombwa and Sunsley Zisengwe.

A total of 29 candidates out of the 42 shortlisted failed the pre-interview judgment writing exam, but some still went for the interviews for the eight vacant High Court posts.

The reasons for withdrawing could not be ascertained, but Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku could have made the candidates uncomfortable by first asking those who braved the interviews why they came when they failed dismally at the first hurdle.

Meanwhile, only three candidates — Labour Court judges, Emelia Muchawa and Philda Muzofa and a former registrar, Jacob Manzunzu, attended yesterday’s public interviews.

Manzunzu, who performed well in the interview, had one glitch when he wilted under intense questioning by the commissioners about his role in a case involving Standard Chartered Bank and the attachment of some property.

Manzunzu, in response, said that the matter happened when he had left the office and was not involved.

Muchawa and Muzofa were praised by the commission for their industriousness on the Labour Court bench, where they had heard and disposed of their cases much faster than their more seasoned colleagues.

However, they came under pressure for their links to gender activism, when they used to work for non-governmental organisations.

“I was active publicly in the gender field and the public already knows. I have since moved away from that space and I was being honest about who I am,” Muchawa said.

On the other hand, Muzofa responded: “I am a gender practitioner and not an activist. I have gained a tool to understand and use when I deal with matters involving gender dynamics.”

The two candidates said they were seeking to get to the High Court for career development and self-actualisation, as they harboured ambitions to be at the superior courts (Supreme and Constitutional courts).

The public interviews end today when the last batch of candidates is expected to appear in the public hearings.-Newsday