This post is a response to Dr. Alex Magaisa’s “The trouble with our judiciary.” In that piece, Dr Magaisa uses the decision in Gonese & Majome vs Parliament & Others CCZ 4/20, together with the failure to hold public interviews, as evidence that the very men and women with the power to defend the Constitution are conspiring to trash it. These are strong words and grave allegations. As a student of Constitutional Courts, I have a keen interest in the public’s perception of judicial bodies as well as the distance between judicial outcomes and how they are shaped and presented for public consumption. Thus, the allegations warrant further attention.
Mr Walter Chikwana, the Acting Secretary of the JSC, pointed to the wording of the section 180:
The obligation on the JSC is activated by the necessity to appoint a judge. It was not necessary to appoint a judge prior to 22 May 2020. At that point, the Constitution provided that Supreme Court judges presided over the Constitutional Court. The necessity to appoint was created by the court separation. In other words, the requirement for public interviews was activated on 22 May 2020, and the Acting Secretary confirmed that the declaration of vacancies has already been communicated to the JSC, triggering processes which will culminate in public interviews. This makes it abundantly clear that the men and women entrusted with protecting the Constitution are not conspiring to trash it, but are faithfully complying with its provisions.