THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has forwarded 10 nominees, including the five candidates who scored 70% or more in public interviews held last month, to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for possible appointment to the High Court bench.
There are eight vacancies to be filled in the High Court.
The decision follows weeks of haggling among commissioners over the selection criteria, with one group insisting the JSC should consider only the candidates who scored 70% or more, while another group was of the view that anyone who passed the interview was eligible for nomination.
Mnangagwa will have the discretion to choose any eight judges from the list submitted to him.
JSC sources this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that Labour Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa is one of the candidates who managed to cross the all-important 70% mark.
Prominent Bulawayo lawyer Paul Musithu, lawyer Christopher Dube-Banda, who has 25 years of legal practice, veteran advocate Webster Chinamora and Sunsley Zisengwe, who boasts of shining legal accolades after he obtained first-class law degrees at both undergraduate and master’s levels, complete the stellar cast.
“These are the names of the five candidates who managed to pass, with a 70% mark and above, during the recent interviews for the eight posts advertised by the JSC. If merit is to be considered, these are the people who must be appointed. We need merit-based appointments,” said a Ministry of Justice official.
“The JSC has, however, forwarded 10 names to the President for his consideration. The list consists of the five top performers and five others who passed but did not get 70%.”
The Independent recently reported that JSC commissioners were locked in a row over the selection of eight High Court judges as two radically opposed groups emerged.
Problems arose from the fact that only five candidates scored 70% or more but the commission is seeking to fill eight vacancies.
The JSC was split in the middle on the benchmark pass, with one group saying only those who scored 70% and above should be recommended for the eight positions, while the opposing group wants the 10 who managed to score 50% and above to be shortlisted.
This also comes amid revelations that the JSC has held a series of meetings over the issue, which all ended inconclusively.
Judges in Zimbabwe are selected in terms of section 180 of the constitution which stipulates that the jobs be advertised in the press. After that, the public is invited to make nominations before public interviews are conducted.
A shortlist of successful candidates is then drawn up and submitted to the President for appointment.
The JSC came up with a shortlist of 43 candidates for interviews after screening scores of applications, of which 42 turned up for the first round of interviews.