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If the judge president of the High Court (which is the next highest court) is appointed as deputy chief justice by Mugabe, Mugabe may also, in terms of the amendment, select the person who will replace the promoted judge president.
The incumbent judge president is George Chiweshe, perceived as firmly Lacoste.
If he is promoted to deputy chief justice, he could be replaced by Lacoste ally High Court Judge Charles Hungwe.
The High Court is the starting point for all cases of any magnitude, which may then go on appeal to the Supreme or Constitutional Courts.
The judge president has extensive powers over the High Court, including the allocation of cases to specific judges.
A specific judge may thus be selected to resolve ZANU-PF’s constitutional succession conundrum when it comes before the court.
On appeal, the chief justice may prove to be susceptible to the sudden illness that seems to afflict members of the judiciary when toxic political hot potatoes land on the bench, and his deputy will take on the task.
Away from the politicking and carefully choreographed rallies, the choice of deputy chief justice may well prove to be a good indicator of how the party’s fraught succession dynamics may play out.
This space is being carefully watched.
By Derek Matyszak. This article was first published by ISS Today