Chidyausiku steps in


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Judge President Godfrey Chidyausiku was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s acting Chief Justice on 13 March 2001 pending the retirement of Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay who had been forced to step down but had reached an amicable agreement with the government.

Gubbay did not attend the swearing in of Chidyausiku but his colleagues did.

Chidyausiku’s appointment was viewed as a fulfilment of the government’s wish to replace Gubbay with a judge perceived to be sympathetic to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE1018, ZIMBABWE: CHIDYAUSIKU SWORN IN AS ACTING CHIEF

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE1018

2001-03-14 16:05

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

141605Z Mar 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9425

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01018 01 OF 02 141608Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00

VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00

TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————D19B55 141608Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8424

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001018

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: CHIDYAUSIKU SWORN IN AS ACTING CHIEF

JUSTICE

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01018 01 OF 02 141608Z

REF: A) HARARE 918 B) HARARE 861 C) HARARE 644

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE SWORN IN

—————————–

 

1. (U) IN A LONG-EXPECTED MOVE, PRESIDENT MUGABE SWORE IN

HIGH COURT JUDGE PRESIDENT GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU AS ACTING

CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE ZIMBABWEAN SUPREME COURT ON MARCH 13.

CHIDYAUSIKU WILL SERVE IN AN ACTING CAPACITY AT LEAST UNTIL

THE FORMAL RETIREMENT OF CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY GUBBAY,

CURRENTLY ON LEAVE UNTIL JUNE 30. THE CEREMONY AT STATE

HOUSE WAS ATTENDED BY GUBBAY’S FOUR COLLEAGUES ON THE BENCH

— BUT NOT GUBBAY HIMSELF — JUDGES FROM THE HIGH COURT,

JUSTICE MINISTER PATRICK CHINAMASA, OTHER CABINET

MINISTERS, AND ATTORNEY-GENERAL ANDREW CHIGOVERA. THE

EVENT RECEIVED PROMINENT COVERAGE IN THE GOVERNMENT-

CONTROLLED PRINT AND BROADCAST MEDIA.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

2. (C) THE GOVERNMENT’S INTENTION TO REPLACE GUBBAY WITH

THE PRO-ZANU-PF CHIDYAUSIKU HAS LONG BEEN AN OPEN SECRET,

AND THE CHIEF JUSTICE’S MARCH 2 AGREEMENT WITH THE GOZ

CONCERNING HIS EARLY RETIREMENT (REF A) MADE THIS POSSIBLE.

TWO PRIMARY QUESTIONS NOW REMAIN UNANSWERED: WILL

CHIDYAUSIKU, DURING HIS THREE-AND-A-HALF MONTHS AS ACTING

CHIEF JUSTICE, BE ABLE TO HELP DISLODGE HIS FOUR NEW

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01018 01 OF 02 141608Z

COLLEAGUES, AND WILL HE REPLACE GUBBAY PERMANENTLY WHEN THE

CHIEF JUSTICE FORMALLY RETIRES ON JUNE 30?

 

3. (C) THE FIRST QUESTION IS OPEN TO INTERPRETATION, AS

NEITHER THE CONSTITUTION NOR HISTORICAL PRECEDENT ADDRESSES

THE POWERS EXERCISED BY AN ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE WHILE THE

CHIEF JUSTICE IS COMPETENT AND REMAINS IN THE COUNTRY.

GUBBAY’S VIEW, AS ELABORATED ON MARCH 10 TO VISITING AF

A/PDAS MARK BELLAMY, WAS THAT ONLY GUBBAY — UNTIL HIS

RETIREMENT — HAS THE AUTHORITY TO RECOMMEND TO THE

PRESIDENT CONVOCATION OF A TRIBUNAL TO INVESTIGATE THE

EXPULSION OF JUDGES FROM THE BENCH. STERNFORD MOYO,

PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF ZIMBABWE, AGREED WITH

GUBBAY, TELLING US ON MARCH 14 THAT, DURING THIS INTERIM

PERIOD, CHIDYAUSIKU’S RECOMMENDING ESTABLISHMENT OF A

TRIBUNAL ON HIS OWN — WITHOUT CONSULTING GUBBAY — WOULD

BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL. PRESIDENT MUGABE AND HIS ADVISORS

LIKELY WILL TAKE THE OPPOSITE VIEW, AS THEY ARE ANXIOUS TO

REPLACE THE COURT’S INDEPENDENT-MINDED JURISTS WITH JUDGES

MORE WILLING TO GIVE THE GOVERNMENT A PASS ON THE RULE OF

LAW.

 

4. (C) GUBBAY SURMISED TO BELLAMY THAT, SINCE THE TRIBUNAL

ROUTE IS SO FRAUGHT WITH CONSTITUTIONAL PITFALLS AND SINCE

CHIDYAUSIKU CANNOT ALONE CARRY ZANU-PF’S WATER, MUGABE

LIKELY WOULD TAKE THE EASIER — AND LEGAL — PATH OF SIMPLY

PACKING THE COURT WITH ADDITIONAL, POLITICALLY SYMPATHETIC

JUDGES. WE HAVE HEARD THAT JUSTICE MINISTER PATRICK

CHINAMASA HAS QUIETLY APPROACHED SEVERAL BLACK LAWYERS

ABOUT ACCEPTING JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS, ALTHOUGH IT IS

UNCLEAR FOR WHICH COURT HE WAS RECRUITING. GUBBAY TOLD

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01018 01 OF 02 141608Z

BELLAMY HE FULLY EXPECTS CHIDYAUSIKU TO BE NAMED AS HIS

PERMANENT REPLACEMENT BEGINNING JULY 1. STERNFORD MOYO,

HOWEVER, SEPARATELY TOLD THE ACTING AF P/DAS THAT HE AND

OTHER MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICES COMMISSION —

CHARGED BY THE CONSTITUTION WITH ADVISING THE PRESIDENT ON

JUDICIAL NOMINEES — WERE WORKING TO TRY TO BLOCK

CHIDYAUSIKU’S ASCENSION TO THE APEX OF ZIMBABWE’S

JUDICIARY.

 

5. (C) WE SUSPECT THE GOZ IS EAGER TO INSTALL A PLIANT

SUPREME COURT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AS THE COURT MIGHT SOON

CONSIDER SEVERAL CONSTITUTIONAL CASES THAT COULD HAVE A

DIRECT IMPACT ON THE RULING PARTY’S POLITICAL PROGRAM. THE

HIGH COURT, FOR INSTANCE, IS CURRENTLY HEARING CHALLENGES

TO THE RESULTS IN 37 CONSTITUENCIES IN LAST JUNE’S

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. A DECISION BY THE HIGH COURT TO

INVALIDATE THE RESULTS IN ANY OF THOSE CONSTITUENCIES —

AND TO CALL FOR NEW ELECTIONS TO FILL THE SEATS — WOULD

WITHOUT DOUBT BE APPEALED TO THE SUPREME COURT. IN

ADDITION, THE MDC PLANS TO CHALLENGE THE CONSTITUTIONALITY

OF THE REPRESSIVE COLONIAL-ERA LAW AND ORDER MAINTENANCE

ACT (LOMA), WHICH THE GOZ HAS USED TO CRACK DOWN ON LEADING

OPPOSITION FIGURES, INCLUDING MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI AND HIS VICE-PRESIDENT GIBSON SIBANDA. CHIEF

 

SIPDIS

JUSTICE GUBBAY TOLD ACTING AF P/DAS BELLAMY THAT THE COURT

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9427

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01018 02 OF 02 141608Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00

VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00

TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————D19B5B 141608Z /38

P 141605Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8425

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 001018

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: CHIDYAUSIKU SWORN IN AS ACTING CHIEF

JUSTICE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01018 02 OF 02 141608Z

WAS UNLIKELY TO ISSUE ANY MORE RULINGS ON THE GOVERNMENT’S

FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM, AS HE AND HIS COLLEAGUES

HAD MADE THEIR POSITION ON THE ILLEGALITY OF THAT EXERCISE

ABSOLUTELY CLEAR.

 

6. (U) BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION ON CHIDYAUSIKU WILL FOLLOW

SEPTEL.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(8 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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