Tsvangirai's lawyers face arrest

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers face prosecution for contempt of court, following statements made by the MDC leader in his Electoral Court application questioning the integrity of the Judiciary.

High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday said the statements brought the court’s integrity into disrepute.

The MDC leader filed a Constitutional Court application, seeking to nullify the election result.

He demanded a fresh election, saying the vote did not meet the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)’s minimum standards for a fair vote — arguing the election was held in the absence of media and security reforms required for a free and fair vote and was rigged.

In the application, Tsvangirai was represented by leading Harare lawyers Lewis Uriri, Alec Muchadehama and Tarisai Mutangi.

President-elect Robert Mugabe won by 61,09 percent, while Tsvangirai got 33,94 percent.

To support his case, Tsvangirai made an application to the Electoral Court, seeking permission to get access to some materials and information from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

Tsvangirai withdrew his presidential petition last Friday, raising doubts on prospects of getting a fair hearing after the Electoral Court reserved indefinitely his request to get poll material and information from the election body.

Tsvangirai said in his application: “Judiciary is not independent from the executive, and politically, from Zanu PF. Since 2000 the president has appointed or elevated 23 judges to the High Court, Supreme Court and the new Constitutional Court without consulting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai contrary to requirements of the GPA and the constitution. Consequently, the opposition does not view the Judiciary as independent of Zanu PF.”

In his withdrawal affidavit, Tsvangirai further cited Mugabe’s comments and conduct in criticising his court application during Heroes Day celebrations held at the National Heroes Acre on August 12 as a factor that necessitated the withdrawal.

“The fact that the Chief Justice (Godfrey Chidyausiku) was in attendance on the day and the fact that he is expected to preside over my petition does very little to inspire my confidence in the possibility of my enjoyment of the constitutional right to a fair hearing,” Tsvangirai wrote.

In his ruling yesterday, Bhunu said Tsvangirai’s Electoral Court dossier was “despicable”.

“It is ironic that having made those scathing disparaging remarks of and concerning the entire Judiciary of this country, the applicant and his lawyers are now seeking justice before the same Judiciary in which they have no confidence,” Bhunu said.

“His conduct in this regard is symptomatic of an unbalanced convoluted mindset unbefitting a man of his stature and station in life. While the applicant’s (Tsvangirai) reprehensible conduct in this respect may be attributable to ignorance of the law, the same cannot be said for his lawyers. As officers of the court, they filed and sought to rely on the appalling document from which they now seek resile with the full knowledge that their conduct was patently unethical.”

Bhunu said the lawyers’ conduct cannot be tolerated.

“Their conduct betrays a determined frame of mind to abuse and hold this court in contempt with scant regard to its integrity. Time has come to reign in errant legal practitioners bent on bringing the court’s integrity into disrepute,” Bhunu said.

He proceeded: “That the registrar be and is hereby directed to serve a copy of this judgement on the Attorney General of the Prosecuting Authority for the appropriate action according to law.”

He further said the lawyers cannot seek to disassociate themselves from Tsvangirai’s “contemptuous conduct”, arguing that they acted in common purpose and sought to justify and sustain their views and perception of the judiciary in a court of law.

Bhunu dismissed the application with costs, arguing that the request was “contrary to law and patently unlawful”.

“This court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine both applications as they relate to disputes concerning the election of the applicant to the office of the president. This really should be the end of the matter,” Bhunu said, adding that the matter was not urgent, because Tsvangirai himself failed to treat it as such.

Comments (10)

Arrest chidyausiku, bhunu and all the rest of them in concot and mackerel too and mugabe

ATZ - 21 August 2013

soon tsvangirai will say forgive bhunu and chidyausiku

hhhhhh - 21 August 2013

Nonsense. Vanhu havadi kuudzwa chokwadi. For how long does the judiciary in the country think they can fool the world. We know that for a long time you have compromised your professional integrity by some of the very questionable decisions you have made in support of ZANU-PF Lucifer. Regai tione kuti God anoramba akanyarara here when a clique of you Bhunu and Chidyausiku supporting this cabal continue to hold the majority of Zimbabweans in bondage. Uri judge wepano pasi not kudenga. God is watching

vongai - 21 August 2013

My God, which truth are you talking of thats why its said when the fish starts to smell it starts from the head. You follow a headless chicken what do you get? When you follow an illiterate leader what do you get? Its best to have a small head with big brains than having such a big head without brains

moral t - 21 August 2013

Jehovha wehondo.

Mhepo - 21 August 2013

Why our officers arrest mongo thieves and not arresting killers, looters.... Thousands of zpf supporters were found with electoral materials but they were not arrested.... Komichi an MDC member and many others are suffering in prisons. Thus the unfairness of Zim law. Remember every dog has its day.

Junda - 21 August 2013

Wagwadziwa Bhunu. For so long they were allowed to sit and abuse the Courts. They claim to be independent when everyone knows that there are all ZANU PF Card Carrying members. Bhunu iwe uri muCell yekumaraini kwangu. Nhasi wabudigwa pachena.

dick mboko - 21 August 2013

I say arrest these Lawyers, and bring on a full trial. We have tonnes of evidence to prove that the whole bench including little boys known as magistrates take orders from zanu pf. If the police do arrest these Lawyers this might prove to be the beginning of a complete overhall of our courts system. Bring it on Bhunu.

zvikombo - 21 August 2013

Bhunu akamaka Muchadehana aida kumusungisa futi http://www.herald.co.zw/chief-justice-censures-lawyer/

Chaya Sando - 22 August 2013

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