By Nkosana Dlamini
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has removed Bulawayo High Court judge Thompson Mabhikwa from office over an intimate relationship with a subordinate.
According to correspondence to Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda indicated Mabhikwa was dismissed “for acts of gross misconduct”.
This follows recommendations by a tribunal set up last year to probe the judge’s conduct.
“The tribunal has reported its findings to His Excellency, the President, Cde E.D Mnangagwa, and has recommended that Honourable Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa be removed from the office of a judge for acts of gross misconduct.
“Accordingly, His Excellency, the President, acting in terms of section 187 (8) of the constitution, has removed the Honorable Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa from the office of Judge of the High Court with immediate effect,” said Sibanda.
The tribunal chaired by retired judge, Justice November Mtshiya handed its report to President Mnangagwa at State House.
Justice Mabhikwa, who was based at the Bulawayo High Court had been accused of being involved in an intimate affair with staff at the High Court.
In setting up the tribunal, Mnangagwa said in a Statutory Instrument of a Government Gazette, the panel should investigate whether Justice Mabhikwa’s conduct “can be deemed to have been tantamount to gross misconduct.”
He also proclaimed that the tribunal should “investigate whether or not the judge (a) committed acts of sexual harassment (b) possessed pornographic material and to investigate any other matter which the tribunal may deem appropriate and relevant to the question of removal from office of a judge in terms of the law”.