Court Watch 07-2024 Gender Balance in the Judiciary

COURT WATCH 7/2024

25th June 2024

Gender Balance in the Judiciary

Zimbabwe has a total of 67 judged encompassing all levels of courts – the Administrative Court; Labour Court; High Court ; Supreme Court; and Constitutional Court.  Of those 30 are women and 37 are men.  This makes a percentage of 44.7 percent of women in the appointed to serve the bench 

Three Female Judges Recently Appointed

President Emmerson D. Mnangagwa has appointed three female judges, out of the available 10 vacancies for the judges of the High Court, based on the Judicial Service Commission’s recommendations.  These appointments followed public interviews with 36 candidates conducted by the Commission from May 13th to 15th, 2024.  Chief Justice Luke Malaba administered the swearing-in ceremony for the new judges on Monday, June 17, 2024

New Female Judges of the High Court

The following individuals have been appointed as judges of the High Court, in accordance with section 180 (1) of the Constitution:

Mashure Faith

Ndlovu Vivian 

Philipa Phiips

All the appointees have the legal qualifications required by the Constitution, they bring with them varied legal backgrounds. Justice Faith Mashure professional journey includes tenure as a magistrate from 2004 to 2013 including four years in the Chief Magistrates Office.  In 2013, Justice Faith Mashure was appointed Registrar of the Labour Court, the post she occupied until February 2016 before becoming the Registrar of the High Court from February 2016 to March 2019.  Prior to these roles, she served as head of Policy and Legal Services in the Judicial Services for a year before advancing to the position of Deputy Secretary for the Judicial Service Commission.

Philipa Philips is a lawyer by profession and a Partner at Philips Law a local boutique law firm specializing in Immigration; citizenship, compliance and corporate law.  She sits on various boards and serves as trustee of several other organizations. She is involved with the World Bank doing Business in Zimbabwe and is the current country ‘s consultant for the review of Companies Act [Chapter 24:03]

Vivian Ndlovu is a lawyer by profession and has served as a magistrate stationed in Hwange and Lupane.

Zimbabwe Female Judges Reflect Milestones on the Bench 

Notwithstanding the constructive influence that women make in the justice sector, pathways for judicial participation are congested by many legal political and social obstacles including gender biases.  Women judges have made tremendous progress as a number of them are seen in the judiciary and the legal systems refining the effectiveness of the justice sector and instilling public confidence.  Currently 44.7% of women are judges.  The country should move to equal representation of having 50% in the judiciary.  

Towards Gender Inclusivity: National Development Strategy

Gender Equality is a key aspect of Vision 2030.  Gender Inclusivity cannot be achieved without gender equality and without equal participation of both men and women at every level in the mainstream economy.  Development of an upper-middle-class economy envisioned in the National Development Strategy 1 can be only realised by upholding section 17 of the Constitution which mandates full gender balance in all spheres of the Zimbabwean Society ensuring that women constitute at least half the membership of all commissions and other elective and appointed governmental bodies established by or under the Constitution or any Act of Parliament.

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