Mujuru resurrects bond notes Con-Court challenge

HARARE - opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader Joice Mujuru has gone back to the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) seeking to strike down a decree by President Robert Mugabe that introduced bond notes.

This comes after the Con-Court in September threw out the ex-vice president’s initial request asking the apex court to set aside Mugabe’s executive order, with the Con-Court ruling then that the suit was “premature and speculative” because the surrogate currency was not yet in circulation.

The full Con-Court bench led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku dismissed the application with costs.

Mugabe used his presidential powers on October 31 to amend the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Act, designating bond notes as legal tender.

The surrogate currency has been in circulation since November 28, and has so far been widely accepted by most businesses and black market traders, managing to hold its 1-1 value against the US dollar over the past two months.

In Mujuru’s latest application, lodged in the Con-Court on December 29, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba ruled that the appeal could be brought back to the court since the notes have since been introduced.

Her latest application has been filed through her lawyer Gift Nyandoro of Hamunakwadi and Nyandoro Law Chambers.

The Con-Court gave Mujuru 15-days to file her heads of argument.

“In terms of Practice Direction No 2 of 2013, the applicant is required to file heads of argument within 15 days from the date of service of the letter,” the Con-Court registrar said in a letter to Mujuru.

“In terms of paragraph 9(11), the respondent is required within 10 days of receiving the applicant’s heads of argument to file with the registrar its heads of argument. Please note that if you fail to comply with the above, the application shall be regarded as abandoned and shall be deemed to have been dismissed.”

The initial application cited President Robert Mugabe, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, RBZ and its governor John Mangudya and Attorney General Prince Machaya as respondents.

In her submissions, Mujuru argued that the case is of public interest and must therefore be allowed to be heard before the Con-Court.

The application was premised on Section 85 (1) of the Constitution, which allows citizens to approach the Con-Court when rights have been infringed upon or when there is a possibility that such rights might be violated.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku in his September ruling said the argument was not valid considering that there was no law in place governing the introduction of bond notes. He said as such, there should be no challenge based on a nullity.

The proposed RBZ Amendment Bill concerning bond notes has since been tabled in Parliament, after the portfolio committee on finance and economic development conducted six day-long public hearings in all the country’s provinces on the legislation, even though the notes were already in use.

Chidyausiku argued there was no guarantee that the executive was not going to follow the law in the introduction of the bond notes.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyers have asked the High Court to strike down Mugabe’s bond notes decree, made through force of diktat, arguing that the veteran leader had no authority to do so.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) lawyer Dzimbahwe Chimbga said presidential powers were only used in emergencies and the bond notes law was not an emergency since the government first announced their introduction in May this year.

Harare businessman, Fredrick Mutanda, also filed another application challenging the procedure and legality of the bond notes.

Comments (1)

It would be interesting to see how the bench will handle the matter.

Alois Matongo - 1 January 2017

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.