Chidyausiku Summons Tsvangirai’s Lawyers Despite Poll Petition Withdrawal
By Professor Matodzi
Harare, August 17, 2013 – Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has summoned MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers together with those representing President Robert Mugabe to appear in court on Monday despite the withdrawal of an election petition challenging the octogenarian leader’s claim to victory in last month’s polls.
Chidyausiku summoned the lawyers to appear before a full bench of the Constitutional Court on Monday morning without elaborating on what he would want addressed even though Tsvangirai dropped his poll petition.
On Friday, Chidyausiku cancelled the sitting of the Constitutional Court, which had been scheduled for Saturday after the MDC-T leader withdrew his election petition challenging Mugabe’s victory in the Constitutional Court.
The former trade union leader withdrew his petition in protest against the respondents’ attitude. The respondents include President Mugabe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice Rita Makarau, the elections management body’s head and Lovemore Sekeramayi, ZEC’s chief elections officer.
He said High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had not granted him an order allowing him access to all the voting and election material which he had requested through two urgent chamber applications in the Electoral Court. This he said seriously handicapped his “prosecution of the petition”.
The respondents reneged on Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s instruction to file court papers including the heads of argument by Friday. Chidyausiku made the order when he met legal representatives for Tsvangirai and all the respondents on Wednesday during a case management meeting.
He also stated that Mugabe had made some unsavoury comments at the Heroes Acre criticising his decision to approach the courts in the presence of Chidyausiku, who was expected to preside over the poll petition. He also protested against adverse pre-trial publicity which has been championed by the state-run media, particularly the Herald.
Tsvangirai vowed to pursue democratic means to fight Mugabe’s claim to victory in last month’s election in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared the Zanu PF leader as the winner of the presidential election with 61 percent of the vote while Tsvangirai garnered 33 percent.