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Magistrate takes leave to work as ZANU PF advisor in COPAC

Magistrate takes leave to work as ZANU PF advisor in COPAC

By Tichaona Sibanda
26 May 2011

A Harare based regional magistrate, Never Katiyo, has taken sabbatical leave 
from his Rotten Row court room to work as a ZANU PF technical advisor on the 
drafting of a new constitution.

He usually presides over his cases using court number 30 at the Rotten Row 
magistrates’ complex, but Katiyo took leave at the beginning of this month 
to sit on the Lands, Natural Resources and Empowerment thematic committee, 
where he represents the former ruling ZANU PF party.

The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai accuse him of regularly 
denying MDC-T activists bail as they face the trumped-up charges against 

It appears ZANU PF went to great lengths to try and hide his identity and 
involvement with the thematic committee, as his name does not appear on the 
list of officials working there.

But this is nothing new as the names of serving soldiers like the 3 Brigade 
commander in Mutare, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, do not appear 
on the list released by Veritas on the 14th May. (Veritas is a watchdog that 
monitors Legal and Parliamentary affairs in Zimbabwe).

Nyikayaramba is the ‘technical advisor on elections and transitional 
mechanisms’ for ZANU PF in compiling data collected during the constitution 
outreach meetings.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us on Thursday that many other civil 
servants and soldiers, apart from Katiyo and Nyikayaramba, were part of 
COPAC’s thematic committees. By law civil servants are not allowed to take 
political sides, but this law has long been flouted by ZANU PF.

‘In the case of Katiyo, he was recently seen at COPAC joking with a former 
Ministry of Justice employee who is now representing the MDC-T, that he was 
working for a wrong party.

‘Although he seemed to be joking, others who saw it didn’t think it was 
ideal for him to declare his allegiance to ZANU PF because he has recently 
been presiding over Themba Mliswa’s case who is known to be a leading ZANU 
PF official. He cleared stated he was ZANU PF and the party still had 
absolute power in the inclusive government,’ Muchemwa said.

Contacted for comment Obert Gutu, the deputy Minister of Justice told us 
that as a judicial officer Katiyo shouldn’t involve himself in active 

‘He (Katiyo) is breaking every rule that one can imagine. Firstly he should 
not be allowed to earn his salary as a magistrate for the time that he is 
working as a ZANU PF employee at COPAC. Secondly, he should be promptly 
hauled before a Judicial Service Commission disciplinary hearing to answer 
charges of gross misconduct,’ Gutu said.

There are reports that the MDC-T is going to raise the issue in Parliament, 
about how the Ministry of Justice is going to deal with judicial officers 
who publicly align themselves with certain political parties.

In Masvingo last year, a magistrate with links to ZANU PF was suspended 
pending investigations, for suggesting that he would deal decisively with 
anyone who supports the MDC-T.



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