The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has withdrawn all government benefits from High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere following her suspension by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week.
Ndewere ‘salary was also put on ice.
Mnangagwa suspended Justice Ndewere and appointed a three-member tribunal to investigate her for alleged misconduct.
In a post on Twitter, United Kingdom-based law expert Alex Magaisa said a group of officers went to the judge’s home on Saturday morning to remove her state-issued vehicles and security guard.
Responding to Magaisa, the JSC confirmed that Justice Ndewere was suspended by Mnangagwa without a salary or benefits. It said:
As you rightly state, Justice Ndewere was suspended by the appointing authority without salary or benefits. The letter of suspension was widely circulated on social media and we presume you must have seen that letter and the authority that issued that letter.
Magaisa had said lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa moved to offer legal protection to Justice Ndewere but the JSC withdrew her security nonetheless. Said Magaisa:
Early morning a group of officers went to Justice Erica Ndewere’s home. She was suspended by Mnangagwa this week. They wanted to remove her state-issued vehicles and security guard. Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa protected her rights but still, they withdrew the judge’s security.
The officers had reportedly been sent by the JSC which has become overzealous and trigger-happy in its treatment of judges.
As Beatrice Mtetwa told them, the suspension doesn’t mean a judge loses his/her benefits. Once subject to a Tribunal, the JSC should sit it out and wait.
The conduct of the JSC is an utter disgrace. It’s supposed to protect the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Yet it’s become a menace to those principles.
The Commissioners should be embarrassed. But if judges don’t unite, they will fall one by one like this.
Justice Ndewere insists that Chief Justice Luke Malaba is trying to fix her for defying his unlawful order in cases involving bail for former Tourism minister Priscah Mupfumira and MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala.