By Nkosana Dlamini
Justice Edith Mushore, one of the three Harare High Court judges who boldly passed a May ruling that almost rendered their boss, Chief Justice Luke Malaba jobless, has stopped reporting for work under mysterious circumstances.
State media reports that Mushore has gone “AWOL” for the past three months, amid signs of a tense atmosphere within the workplace.
Mushore is said to be claiming she is sick but has not produced any documental evidence from a medical doctor to support the claim.
Repeated efforts to enquire into the reasons of her truancy have drawn blanks as she has allegedly broken all her contact channels.
Judicial Services Commission secretary Walter Chikwana confirmed the judge is nowhere to be found.
“I can confirm that Justice Mushore has not been reporting for work since June and we are trying to find out from her what is really happening.
“We are failing to contact her. She is not picking calls and we are making every effort to get in touch with her,” he said.
The judge passed the ruling together with Justices Happias Zhou and Jester Charewa.
This followed a court challenge that had been filed by a Harare lawyer against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s controversial decision to extend Malaba’s term of office beyond his retirement age of 70.
Mnangagwa derived his powers from a Constitutional amendment which his government had invested time and resources to see through.
Malaba did not stop reporting for work even after the High Court had declared his new tenure was illegal.
Zimbabwe has a murky history of victimisation against judges seen as reluctant to pander to the whims of the State.
In an interview with Zimstar News recently, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who has accused the three judges of being influenced by enemy interests to pass a ruling against Malaba, denied government harboured any intentions to victimise the judges.
Ziyambi took a rather discreet approach, saying the judges have nothing to fear if they knew they did nothing wrong.
“I am not aware of any judge whose security has been threatened,” said Ziyambi.