Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
1 April 2008

End of the road for Robert Mugabe?

The New York Times is reporting that the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai is in talks with advisers to President Robert Mugabe, amid signs that some of those close to Mr. Mugabe may encourage him to resign. The Times is quoting “a Western diplomatic source and a prominent Zimbabwe political analyst”. They claim the negotiations about a possible transfer of power away from Mr. Mugabe come after he apparently concluded that a runoff election would be demeaning.

Zimbabwean students with parents in the ZANU PF hierarchy also told me earlier today of these rumours. Could it really be the end of Robert Mugabe? If these reports are true, President Thabo Mbeki may finally take some credit for finally outmaneuvering Mr Mugabe. President Mbeki was instrumental in engineering changes to the Electoral Act which requires votes to be counted at each polling station and results posted outside each station, making rigging of the poll much more difficult.

But I will only believe it when I see it. Holding thumbs though. No leader should hang on to power for so long.

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