Top lawyer Joseph James mourned

PROMINENT Bulawayo lawyer Joseph James’ death has shaken the sporting and legal community who described him as principled and
professional.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

PROMINENT Bulawayo lawyer Joseph James’ death has shaken the sporting and legal community who described him as principled and
professional.
James (59), a former Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) chairperson, succumbed to cancer on Sunday.

SRC director-general Charles Nhemachena led the tributes saying the sporting fraternity had become poorer after his death.

“It is devastating. It is a very sad development. I worked with him directly as he was my chairman and I was his chief executive officer,” he said.

“We got very close. He was very professional, methodical and knowledgeable about sport and the fact that he was a former football player himself made him the right person for that job.”

Former Education, Sport and Culture minister David Coltart, who is also a lawyer and appointed James (59) to the SRC board, spoke glowingly of the top lawyer.

“I had known him for 32 years and he was one of Zimbabwe’s best lawyers,” he said.

“He was a man of the utmost integrity. In court he was a formidable opponent, tenacious and bright, but never took things personally. He treated people equally and fairly, and spoke his mind without fear.

“He loved his family and sport, in particular football which he played up until recently, socially.”

Coltart said James was frustrated that he could not do as much as he wanted for Zimbabwean sport during his tenure as SRC chairperson.

“When I became minister, I appointed him chairman of the SRC and we worked hard to try and eradicate corruption and partisanship,” he said.

“Both of us were frustrated that we did not achieve more. James worked hard to improve sport in Zimbabwe.”

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said James was “deeply” respected for his professionalism.

“Jumbo — as Joseph James was affectionately called — was a principled member of the legal profession in Zimbabwe, and a deeply respected past president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe between 2005 and 2008,” ZLHR said.

“This was a tumultuous period for the legal profession and for the rule of law in the country.

“Throughout his tenure, he acquitted himself with the highest levels of fearlessness, professionalism and commitment to protecting the independence and integrity of the legal profession and speaking truth to power.”

ZLHR said James was a loyal member of the organisation and was a mentor to young lawyers.

“Respected and loved by his peers both within the profession and on the bench, Jumbo also endeared himself to new generations of lawyers, and was always ready and willing to mentor and support them,” the organisation added.

“It is no surprise that his commitment to the profession and to justice for all earned him recognition when he was honoured with the Walter Kamba Rule of Law Award in 2012.

Jumbo was a dearly loved, active and loyal senior member of ZLHR. His advice, support and learned counsel were always sought out and will be treasured for years to come

“His loss will leave a marked void in the organisation and in our hearts.”

Zimbabwe Cricket chairperson Wilson Manase said the cricket body had always received wise counsel from James.

“As our lawyer, we found Joseph to be a brilliant legal mind who always applied himself diligently to each case before him,” he said.

“Later, we benefited greatly from his advice and support as chairman of the Sports and Recreation and Commission — a post he was more than adequately suited for, given his ardent love for sport which saw him playing it and then later founding clubs and sponsoring them, before he moved into administration

James is survived by his wife and four children. Bulawayo lawyer Josphat Tshuma yesterday said his burial arrangements would be announced after his wife and children, who are outside the country, arrived back home.

James’ wife is in Australia and is expected to jet in today while his two other children are expected tomorrow.

James was a partner in Moyo-Majwabu and Nyoni Legal Practitioners.

James (59), a former Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) chairperson, succumbed to cancer on Sunday.

SRC director-general Charles Nhemachena led the tributes saying the sporting fraternity had become poorer after his death.

“It is devastating. It is a very sad development. I worked with him directly as he was my chairman and I was his chief executive officer,” he said.

“We got very close. He was very professional, methodical and knowledgeable about sport and the fact that he was a former football player himself made him the right person for that job.”

Former Education, Sport and Culture minister David Coltart, who is also a lawyer and appointed James (59) to the SRC board, spoke glowingly of the top lawyer.

“I had known him for 32 years and he was one of Zimbabwe’s best lawyers,” he said.

“He was a man of the utmost integrity. In court he was a formidable opponent, tenacious and bright, but never took things personally. He treated people equally and fairly, and spoke his mind without fear.

“He loved his family and sport, in particular football which he played up until recently, socially.”

Coltart said James was frustrated that he could not do as much as he wanted for Zimbabwean sport during his tenure as SRC chairperson.

“When I became minister, I appointed him chairman of the SRC and we worked hard to try and eradicate corruption and partisanship,” he said.

“Both of us were frustrated that we did not achieve more. James worked hard to improve sport in Zimbabwe.”

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said James was “deeply” respected for his professionalism.

“Jumbo — as Joseph James was affectionately called — was a principled member of the legal profession in Zimbabwe, and a deeply respected past president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe between 2005 and 2008,” ZLHR said.

“This was a tumultuous period for the legal profession and for the rule of law in the country.

“Throughout his tenure, he acquitted himself with the highest levels of fearlessness, professionalism and commitment to protecting the independence and integrity of the legal profession and speaking truth to power.”

ZLHR said James was a loyal member of the organisation and was a mentor to young lawyers.

“Respected and loved by his peers both within the profession and on the bench, Jumbo also endeared himself to new generations of lawyers, and was always ready and willing to mentor and support them,” the organisation added.

“It is no surprise that his commitment to the profession and to justice for all earned him recognition when he was honoured with the Walter Kamba Rule of Law Award in 2012.

Jumbo was a dearly loved, active and loyal senior member of ZLHR. His advice, support and learned counsel were always sought out and will be treasured for years to come.

“His loss will leave a marked void in the organisation and in our hearts.”

Zimbabwe Cricket chairperson Wilson Manase said the cricket body had always received wise counsel from James.

“As our lawyer, we found Joseph to be a brilliant legal mind who always applied himself diligently to each case before him,” he said.

“Later, we benefited greatly from his advice and support as chairman of the Sports and Recreation and Commission — a post he was more than adequately suited for, given his ardent love for sport which saw him playing it and then later founding clubs and sponsoring them, before he moved into administration.”

James is survived by his wife and four children. Bulawayo lawyer Josphat Tshuma yesterday said his burial arrangements would be announced after his wife and children, who are outside the country, arrived back home

James’ wife is in Australia and is expected to jet in today while his two other children are expected tomorrow.

James was a partner in Moyo-Majwabu and Nyoni Legal Practitioners.

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