HomeLocalEx-magistrate in court drama

Ex-magistrate in court drama

FORMER magistrate Judith Tsamba on Monday caused a mini-drama at the Rotten Row Magistrates Courts when she refused to go into the holding cells after she was convicted of contempt charges for failing to turn up as a witness after being warned by the court.


Tsamba, who is now Zesa company secretary and legal advisor, failed to turn up in court to testify in the trial of former minister of Energy, Elton Mangoma, who is facing criminal abuse of office charges.

Tsamba flew to Botswana on Cabinet authority without the court’s approval.

Presiding magistrate Hosiah Mujaya asked her on whose authority she had skipped court after she had been warned to attend.

“I had Cabinet authority to travel and I have my passport with me to prove that I travelled on that particular date,” Tsamba responded.

Mujaya then asked if the executive had powers to control the courts to which she remained quiet.

The magistrate then convicted her of contempt and fined her $15.

As the court adjourned for lunch, Tsamba tried to leave the court room and was called back by a Zimbabwe Prison Service officer and was told she was now a convict until she paid her fine.

Tsamba tried to resist but was promptly warned that she would be handcuffed if she resisted the lawful order, after which she softened her resistance.

She was taken into the dock as some prosecutors tried to run around to have her fine paid. Unfortunately for her, the clerk’s office had also closed for lunch.

The prisons’ officer then told her to go into the holding cells until after lunch when her fine would be processed.

Tsamba, sensing that this was one battle she was not going to win, reluctantly waved her colleagues good-bye as the door to the holding cells closed behind her.

The irony of the case was not lost to the few people who had waited to see the drama unfold as Tsamba for the first time, albeit temporarily, walked in the same corridor she had sent hundreds of accused convicts down through during her days as magistrate at Rotten Row.

“At least for once she now knows that the courts should be respected and no one is above the law,” said one court official.

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