Mutambara faces prosecution

HARARE - Former deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is facing prosecution on contempt of court charges after he reportedly accused the judiciary of playing to the whims of Zanu PF.In a judgment delivered yesterday, the Constitutional Court said that Mutambara had a case to answer.

Mutambara’s case dates back to April 2008, when he reportedly wrote an article titled “A shameful betrayal of national independence” in a weekly newspaper.

According to court papers, in the story, Mutambara wrote, “In terms of the House of Assembly, the agenda is to seize at least nine seats from the opposition through recounts and court action leading to re-runs.

“This explains the 23 recounts Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) had instituted. There is clearly criminal collusion between Zec and Zanu PF.

“To add insult to injury, this unlikely marriage is dutifully consummated by a compliant and pliable judiciary typified and exemplified by Judge Tendai Uchena’s unreasonable and thoughtless decision not to order Zec to release presidential results.”

Mutambara, however, approached the Constitutional Court following his arrest in June 2008, claiming the prosecution was a violation of his right to equal protection of the law and freedom of expression.

According to court papers, Mutambara argued that the statement that he made was of a political nature and fell in the category of a political speech but the attorney-general and the commissioner-general of police Augustine Chihuri, who were cited as respondents in the application, said the words were clearly not within the limits of reasonable courtesy and good faith.

“A reading of the offending statement conveys the clear impression that the applicant’s major grievance was the perceived collusion between the political party Zanu PF and Zec.

“It appears that the applicant regarded the vote recount as a result of some pressure having been brought to bear upon Zec to undertake the exercise, as part of a Zanu PF agenda to seize at least nine parliamentary seats from the opposition political parties,” Constitutional Court judge Elizabeth Gwaunza said.

She said that Mutambara went on to draw the judiciary into the perceived conspiracy between Zanu PF and Zec.

Mutambara argued that the State was discriminating him, because President Robert Mugabe had previously made relatively “tough” but similar comments on a member of the judiciary.

However, the court said that the president was immune to prosecution while in office.

“When all is told, I find that the applicant’s claim lacks merit in all respects and ought to be dismissed. The application be and is hereby dismissed,” Gwaunza ruled, in a judgment that the other eight Constitutional Court judges unanimously agreed to.

Comments (3)

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mama mather - 19 November 2015

Contempt of court, by its nature is crafted to give unfetted power to a court that is manipulated by Mugabe and ZANU PF willingly without anyone being answerable. In as much as there has been abuse of power by executive and Mugabe in particular, why has he ever not answered any question. Chihuri has never acted on the issue of Dzamara. There has been a lot of opposition cases which were never accounted for. In any case why did ZEC took more than 72 hours to release the elections of 2008, why were they not forced to do so by the same court since its clear that ZANU PF and Mugabe in particular was busy behind the scene manipulating the result. Its a SHAME what ZEC and all the courts in ZIMBABWE are doing. Zimbabwe judiciary is full of stooges of ZANU PF, beneficiaries of ill gotten wealth. They can never be independent, even Rita Makarau though the chair of ZEC she is control by Ms Zembe a known CIO who has been manupilating election since she went there far back as 2000

amina - 20 November 2015

let the offenders face justification

doc - 23 November 2015

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