Chinamasa forced Chief Justice to retire


0

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay had taken early retirement and would take four months leave but Gubbay said he was mot leaving of his own free will.

Gubbay had been under pressure to resign and had threatened to resign after Vice-president Simon Muzenda dismissed his request for protection against increased harassment from war veterans.

Chinamasa informed Gubbay that he had been sent to accept his resignation.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE644, ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT HOUNDS SUPREME COURT CHIEF

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE644

2001-02-05 15:49

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.

 

051549Z Feb 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1790

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z

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   LAB-01

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

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

SSO-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

——————C1060F 051552Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8172

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000644

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/05/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT HOUNDS SUPREME COURT CHIEF

JUSTICE INTO RETIREMENT

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z

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

(B) AND (D).

 

REF: A) HARARE 613 B) HARARE 538 C) HARARE 392

D) HARARE 354 E) HARARE 106

 

1. (U) JUSTICE MINISTER PATRICK CHINAMASA ANNOUNCED ON

FEBRUARY 2 THE EARLY RETIREMENT OF CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY

GUBBAY. SHORTLY AFTER MEETING WITH GUBBAY IN HIS SUPREME

COURT CHAMBERS, CHINAMASA ISSUED A STATEMENT ANNOUNCING

THAT THE CHIEF JUSTICE WOULD TAKE FOUR MONTHS OF LEAVE

BEGINNING ON MARCH 1, THEN WOULD RETIRE ON JUNE 30, NINE

MONTHS BEFORE HE REACHES HIS MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE OF

70. THE MEETING WITH CHINAMASA FOLLOWS A JANUARY 22

MEETING BETWEEN GUBBAY AND VICE-PRESIDENT MUZENDA (REF B),

DURING WHICH, ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, GUBBAY THREATENED

TO RESIGN AFTER MUZENDA DISMISSED HIS REQUEST FOR

PROTECTION AGAINST INCREASING HARASSMENT BY SO-CALLED WAR

VETERANS. CHINAMASA SUBSEQUENTLY INFORMED GUBBAY, IN THE

FEBRUARY 2 MEETING, THAT HE HAD BEEN SENT TO ACCEPT

GUBBAY’S RESIGNATION.

 

2. (C) WE WERE SURPRISED BY THE ABRUPTNESS OF GUBBAY’S

DEPARTURE, PARTICULARLY GIVEN THE CHIEF JUSTICE’S

ASSURANCES TO US ON JANUARY 26 (REF B) THAT HE INTENDED TO

REMAIN ON THE COURT UNTIL AT LEAST THE END OF THE YEAR.

THE CHARGE PHONED GUBBAY ON FEBRUARY 5 TO SOLICIT HIS

ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAD TRANSPIRED IN THE CHINAMASA MEETING.

WITHOUT ELABORATING, GUBBAY TOLD THE CHARGE THAT HE IS NOT

LEAVING OF HIS OWN FREE WILL. (NOTE: ONE INFORMED SOURCE

TOLD US THAT UPON READING THE TRANSCRIPT OF MUZENDA’S

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z

MEETING, MUGABE REPORTEDLY SAID “TELL HIM WE ACCEPT HIS

RESIGNATION.” END NOTE.) THE CHIEF JUSTICE CONFIRMED THAT

HE WILL TAKE FOUR MONTHS OF ACCUMULATED LEAVE BEGINNING ON

MARCH 1 AND WILL RETIRE ON JUNE 30. PRESIDENT MUGABE,

ACCORDING TO GUBBAY, PLANS TO APPOINT JUDGE PRESIDENT OF

THE HIGH COURT GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU AS ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE

DURING THE FOUR-MONTH LEAVE AND, PRESUMABLY, AS HIS FORMAL

SUCCESSOR UPON GUBBAY’S OFFICIAL RETIREMENT. GUBBAY SAID

HE GREATLY APPRECIATED THE LARGE NUMBER OF MESSAGES OF

SUPPORT HE HAD RECEIVED DURING THE WEEKEND.

 

3. (C) IN A SEPARATE CONVERSATION WITH CHARGE DURING THE

FEBRUARY 3-4 WEEKEND, TOM WALTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF

MOBIL OIL ZIMBABWE AND AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, EXPRESSED ALARM

AT THE LIKELY DETRIMENTAL IMPACT OF GUBBAY’S EARLY

RETIREMENT ON BUSINESS CONFIDENCE, ALREADY AT AN ALL-TIME

LOW.   THE CHIEF JUSTICE’S DEPARTURE PROMPTED WALTER TO

WRITE A LETTER TO HIS HEADQUARTERS RECOMMENDING A

REASSESSMENT OF MOBIL’S PRESENCE IN ZIMBABWE.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

4. (C) CHINAMASA’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF GUBBAY’S EARLY

RETIREMENT FOLLOWED MONTHS OF GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED

HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION (REFTELS) OF THE WELL-RESPECTED

CHIEF JUSTICE AND — TO A LESSER DEGREE — HIS COLLEAGUES

ON THE COUNTRY’S HIGHEST BENCH. INDEED, GUBBAY’S DEPARTURE

CONCLUDED A WEEK-AND-A-HALF OF ESCALATING INTIMIDATION OF

THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA, THE JUDICIARY, TOWN COUNCILS AROUND

THE COUNTRY, AND MANY OTHER INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z

WHICH HAVE EXPRESSED — OR ARE SUSPECTED OF HARBORING —

VIEWS CONTRARY TO THOSE ESPOUSED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

GUBBAY’S COMMENT TO US THAT HE IS NOT LEAVING OF HIS OWN

FREE WILL CONFIRMED OUR SUSPICION THAT HIS DEPARTURE IS

UNDER DURESS.

 

5. (C) THE SHORT-TERM IMPACT OF THE EXPECTED PROMOTION OF

THE UNABASHEDLY PRO-ZANU-PF GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU IS UNCLEAR,

AS THE CHIEF JUSTICE IS, IN PRACTICE, FIRST AMONG EQUALS

AND WILL BE UNABLE TO RUN ROUGHSHOD OVER HIS FOUR FELLOW

JUSTICES. HOWEVER, ONE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, WILSON

SANDURA, REPORTEDLY HAS COMMENTED PRIVATELY TO FRIENDS THAT

HE WOULD STEP DOWN IF CHIDYAUSIKU IS APPOINTED CHIEF

JUSTICE, AND WE EXPECT OTHERS WOULD BE INCLINED TO FOLLOW

SUIT. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NICHOLAS MCNALLY IS EXPECTED

TO REACHED THE MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

SUCH AN EXODUS WOULD PLAY INTO THE GOVERNMENT’S HANDS, PAVING

THE WAY FOR THE PRESIDENT TO APPOINT JURISTS WILLING TO TOE

THE ZANU-PF LINE, A DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD HAVE A CHILLING

EFFECT ON THE RULE OF LAW AND CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY.

INDEED, GUBBAY’S EARLY RETIREMENT — AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES

SURROUNDING IT — HAVE SENT MANY ZIMBABWEANS INTO A PANIC,

AS THEY HAVE RELIED ON THE SUPREME COURT TO BE THE LAST

LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST PRESIDENT MUGABE’S CONSOLIDATION OF

ABSOLUTE POWER.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1791

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00644 02 OF 02 051552Z

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   LAB-01

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

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

SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————C10612 051552Z /38

O 051549Z FEB 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8173

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000644

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/05/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT HOUNDS SUPREME COURT CHIEF

JUSTICE INTO RETIREMENT

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00644 02 OF 02 051552Z

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(26 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *