Tsvangirai lawyers off the hook

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers are off the hook following a Supreme Court ruling setting aside Electoral Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu’s directive that they be arrested on contempt of court charges.

Tsvangirai appealed to the Supreme Court against Bhunu’s dismissal of his application, in which the former premier sought permission to get electoral material and information from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in order to bolster his presidential election petition and looking to stop the push for the arrest of his legal practitioners.

In the appeal, he cited chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Rita Makarau, Zec chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi, Zec, registrar general of voters Tobaiwa Mudede and President Robert Mugabe as respondents.

Tsvangirai’s lawyer Lewis Uriri yesterday told the court that he was abandoning two other issues that had been raised in the appeal, pertaining to jurisdiction and the urgency of the matter.

Tawanda Kanengoni and Charles Nyika represented Zec, its chairperson and the chief elections officer, while Chandavengerwa Chopamba appeared on behalf of Mudede, and Terence Hussein appeared for Mugabe.

All the lawyers agreed that Bhunu’s directive for the arrest of Tsvangirai’s lawyers Uriri, Alec Muchadehama and Tarisai Mutangi, was a misdirection.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Paddington Garwe and Ben Hlatshwayo, said Bhunu should not have dealt with the merits of the case, after ruling that the matter was not urgent.

“The appeal against the judgment of the court a quo succeeds with no order as to costs to the extent that the part of the order referring to the allegedly contemptuous conduct of the appellant and the legal practitioners who represented him be referred to the Attorney General or the National Prosecuting Authority for investigations and the part of the order directing the appellant and the legal practitioners to pay costs be and is hereby set aside,” Justice Malaba ruled.

Malaba further amended Bhunu’s order.

“The applications in case numbers EC27/13 and EC28/13 are not urgent and are accordingly removed from the roll with costs on the ordinary scale,” he said.

Bhunu had ruled that he had no jurisdiction to handle the matter, before giving an order for the prosecution of Tsvangirai’s lawyers on contempt charges.

He claimed statements made by the MDC leader through his lawyers during the application were contemptuous and brought the court’s integrity into disrepute.

Bhunu gave the order after being riled by Tsvangirai’s statements, arguing his lawyers equally shared the responsibility and were associated to the sentiments.

In the Electoral Court application, Tsvangirai had said, “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.”

Bhunu said the statements in the dossier were “despicable”.

Comments (6)

Thanks to God who makes all things happen. If He made Herod's heart to be stiff and hard couldn't He also loosen it? One thing for sure God will never fool us that we spend the day sitting on a rock waiting for diesel to ooze out of a it!

Regalia - 24 January 2014

End of Robert Mugabe The current president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe will die on Monday, the 3rd of February 2014. Actually I had a dream on the 20th of January 2014 that Mugabe will die on his sleep. This death will not result from poisoning, gun shot, physical strangling basically there will be no foul play and it will be strictly natural death. This prophecy concludes that Mugabe will demise as a result of natural causes. Ndini; Tichatonga Mambo Tichatongamambo@yahoo.com (Zimbabwean)

Tichatonga Mambo - 24 January 2014

@Tichatonga Mambo, some dreams tell lies and if he does not die on the date you said , we will laugh at you stereki.

Great greatgranddad Wemakudo - 25 January 2014

Ko @Tichatonga Mambo what he decides not to sleep on that day and has a pungwe

Ok - 27 January 2014


vatete - 27 January 2014


vatete - 27 January 2014

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