Senior Zimbabwean judge, Francis Bere, at misconduct tribunal

A respected senior member of Zimbabwe's judiciary is being investigated for alleged misconduct, for the second time in little over a year. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a tribunal to investigate the allegations against him and, surrounded by considerable publicity, the tribunal members have been sworn in. The allegations against the judge concern a phone call he made to a lawyer.

If you follow judicial politics in Zimbabwe you could be forgiven if you felt confused by the headline that goes with this story.

Just over a year ago, Justice Francis Bere of Zimbabwe's Supreme Court was formally cleared by a panel of four judges appointed by the Chief Justice to consider a claim of ethical misconduct against him.

Zim judge gives stunning human rights decision in transgender case

A member of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has just delivered a landmark decision in a case heard while he was still a member of the high court in Bulawayo. It concerns a transgender Zimbabwean subjected to appalling infringements of her constitutional rights at the hands of the police and a high profile member of the ruling ZANU-PF's Youth League. Although she has now been awarded damages by the court, she has already left the country after claiming asylum in the USA on the grounds of Zimbabwe’s shocking treatment of LGBTI people.

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Ever since he took office as a member of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, Justice Francis Bere’s professional life has been something of a roller-coaster.

Top Zim judges “regret” no change to outdated law that harms women

Activists for women’s rights have been challenged by Zimbabwe’s court of appeal to lobby for changes to the law to protect spouses and families. As it stands, the law allows one spouse to alienate his or her half share of the matrimonial property even without the permission of the other spouse.

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Discrimination against women emerges in the strangest places in the law, as Judith Ishemunyoro has just discovered to her serious cost.

In 1994, the ministry of local government and housing for which she worked, offered to sell her the house that she had been renting for some time. She accepted the offer and through monthly deductions from her salary, paid off the property. Then the property was transferred into her name and that of her husband.


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