Lawyers press judge on polls

HARARE - Lawyers representing three ex-legislators have written to the High Court demanding reasons why Judge President George Chiweshe granted President Mugabe’s wish to hold by-elections in March 2013.

Recently, the High Court approved Mugabe’s request to synchronise by-elections with polls that would end the “dysfunctional” coalition government that is running the country next year.

When Chiweshe passed his judgment, he said reasons for granting Mugabe’s March 2013 poll wish would follow.

However, for lawyers who plan to challenge his ruling at the Supreme Court, Chiweshe is taking too long to give reasons which are critical for mounting an appeal at the country’s highest court.

Lawyers who are representing former MPs Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu say they will not let the case sleep and have written a letter to the Master of High Court demanding the reasons which would enable them to launch a Supreme Court appeal.

“We refer to the above matter in which a ruling was delivered on the 2nd of October 2012 by the Honourable Chiweshe, JP. We kindly request to be furnished with a copy of the reasons for ruling as per the Honourable judge’s undertaking to the parties.

“Please take note that the Respondents, who are our clients, urgently require the said reasons to enable them to pursue an appeal in the Supreme Court,” reads part of the letter.

Since 2010 Mugabe has been in a bruising court battle with the three MPs who are now indirectly pushing the cause of other vacant parliamentary and municipal constituencies that amount to close to 200 countrywide.

Section 39 of the Electoral Act directs the president to proclaim elections within 14 days of having been informed of a vacant seat by the Speaker of Parliament.

Mugabe was initially hauled to the High Court by three former MDC legislators in 2010 after their parliamentary membership was terminated following their suspension and subsequent expulsion from Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube-led MDC.

Recently, Mugabe pleaded with the High Court to waive a ruling made by the Supreme Court directing him to hold elections in accordance with the law arguing that the cash strapped hybrid government is too broke to bankroll a mini-general election.

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