By Lloyd Takawira
Following attempts by President Mnangagwa to extend the term of office for Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Zimbabweans have found a way of protesting the move through caricature.
Netizens have flooded social media timelines with happy birthday and retirement memes of the soon to be septuagenarian.
Apart from the urgent court applications filed by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Executive Director, Musa Kika, Young Lawyers Association and legislator Tendai Biti challenging the new law which allows the extension of Malaba’s tenure beyond 15 May 2021 there is also an online petition.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world over and in Zimbabwe too people have taken internet as the battleground for venting their frustrations.
Activists timelines on social media sites have flooded with caricature wishing Malaba a happy birthday and mockingly a happy retirement .
“Happy Birthday & Happy Retirement, Chief Justice Malaba! Justice Malaba turns 70 this week. We would like to wish him a happy birthday and a very peaceful retirement.
“President ED Mnangagwa rushed through an unconstitutional constitutional amendment just so Malaba could stay in his job and do ED’s bidding. We say ‘No! Stick to the valid constitution that the People voted for in 2013!’
Happy Birthday and Retirement, Justice Malaba!
4 Days to Go till Justice Malaba’s birthday this Saturday 15th May!
#ResistDictatorship,” reads one of the posters.
Malaba turns 70 years old on the 15th of May and the 2013 Constitution stipulates that he retires. However, Mnangagwa recently signed into law a constitutional amendment giving him the power to extend judges’ terms.
Human rights activists and critics argue that the whole process of constitutional Amendment number 2 was inconsistent and unconstitutional as Section 328 requires the holding of a referendum in such cases.
Section 328(7) also makes it clear that any amendment to a term-limit provision does not apply to any person who held or occupied that office at the time before the amendment as the case may be with Luke Malaba.