Judge Recuses Herself in High-Profile Neville Mutsvangwa Case Following State House Summons

President Emmerson Mnangagwa summoned Justice Esther Chiremba to discuss ongoing Neville Mutsvangwa case at State House
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HARARE – The bail appeal case of Neville Mutsvangwa, son of women’s affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa and Zanu PF spokesman Chris Mutsvangwa, has taken a dramatic turn after the presiding judge recused herself following a summons to State House.

According to ZimLive, Justice Esther Muremba of the Harare High Court was expected to deliver her judgement on Mutsvangwa’s bail appeal on Monday. The ruling had already been postponed the previous week due to an incomplete record of proceedings from the lower court.

However, in an unexpected move, Justice Muremba announced her decision to step down from the case, citing personal reasons.

“I am recusing myself for personal reasons,” the judge stated on Monday. The case will now be reassigned to a different judge.

ZimLive has learned that Justice Muremba reported to the Judicial Service Commission that she felt “intimidated” after being summoned to a meeting at State House last Wednesday.

Present at the meeting were President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, and Monica Mutsvangwa, who is also Neville Mutsvangwa’s mother. During the meeting, Mutsvangwa reportedly complained about the judge’s handling of the case.

Sources indicate that President Mnangagwa requested an explanation of the case’s status from the judge. Justice Muremba explained that the delay in her ruling was due to the late receipt of records from the magistrates’ court. President Mnangagwa, after hearing her explanation, acknowledged her actions as proper and emphasized his respect for judicial independence before excusing her.

Justice Muremba, appointed by former President Robert Mugabe in 2013, took several days to consider her position before deciding to recuse herself from the case.

This revelation has stirred concern within legal circles, highlighting ongoing fears of judicial interference by Zanu PF elites. Veteran lawyer David Coltart expressed his astonishment at the judge’s decision to recuse herself post-hearing.

“I am shocked by this,” Coltart posted on X, formerly Twitter. “If the judge had personal reasons why she could not deal with the matter, that should have been disclosed at the hearing itself, and she should have recused herself then. An accused person, who has been denied bail to date, now has to spend further time in custody while a new judge is allocated to the case. If new reasons have arisen, those need to be disclosed to the accused’s counsel. Anything else is the antithesis of justice.”

Neville Mutsvangwa was arrested on May 8, accused of illegally trading foreign currency and money laundering, allegedly undermining Zimbabwe’s new currency, Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG). His mother has protested his innocence, claiming his arrest was politically motivated.

Chris Mutsvangwa, Zanu PF spokesman, addressed the media earlier on Monday, stating, “We are dealing with a matter that’s before the courts, let justice take its course.

But as parents, we’re going through extreme difficulties, but with the fortitude of both the mother and father who are products of the revolution, we have the stamina to bear it all.”