PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday fired retired judge Justice Maphios Cheda as chairperson of a tribunal he set up to determine Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa’s fitness to hold the office of High Court judge.
Mnangagwa appointed Retired Justice November Matshiya as new chairperson of the tribunal in Proclamation 6 of 2021 under Statutory Instrument 233 of 2021.
In the proclamation, Mnangagwa said the investigations could be carried out with an extension of further six months after the expiry of the initial five months.
Justice Cheda was appointed chairperson of the tribunal on June 17, 2021.
“Now, therefore, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President as afore said, I do hereby, by this proclamation, amend the proclamation published in Statutory Instrument 170A of 2021 by the deletion in paragraph (b) of the words, Retired Justice Maphios Cheda and the insertion of Retired Justice November Matshiya,” Mnangagwa said.
Justice Mabhikwa went under probe after nude pictures allegedly from his phone went viral on social media earlier this year.
The pictures exposed his alleged affair with Oratile Nare, a female staff member at the Bulawayo High Court.
It is alleged that Nare forwarded pictures from Mabhikwa’s phone to a judges’ WhatsApp group and contacts in his phone after she had discovered that the judge was flirting with another woman.
Chaka Mashoko, a procedural law lecturer and lawyer Phillipa Magnify Philips are the other members of the tribunal.
The tribunal is investigating whether or not Mabhikwa committed acts of sexual harassment or possessed pornographic material.