MDC rejects Supreme Court ruling

mdc_logoHARARE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said his party will not accept Thursday's Supreme Court ruling nullfying the election of the Speaker. The full Supreme Court bench, sitting as a Constitutional Court, made a ruling that effectively ousts the Speaker, Lovemore Moyo, a chairman of Tsvangirai's MDC party, who was elected in August 2009.

The Supreme Court ruled that Moyo’s election by the House of Assembly did not follow proper procedures. The Court was making a ruling on an appeal lodged by Jonathan Moyo, a senior member of Mugabe’s Zanu PF party,who was elected as an independent MP but later crossed the floor to rejoin Zanu PF. High Court judge, Justice Bharat Patel last year threw out Moyo’s challenge to have the Speakers election to the powerful post set aside.Moyo then appealed to the Supreme Court arguing the learned judge erred in finding that a proper election of the Speaker of Parliament was conducted in terms of the constitution.

The ruling has dangerously heightened tensions in the troubled colaition, and Tsvangirai said his party rejects the ruling by “partisan judges.” Tsvangirai said the election of the Speaker was “lawful and legitimate,” a fact confirmed by the election officer and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma in his affidavit filed in court. Tsvangirai raised separation of powers arguments at the ews conference held at Harvest House HQ on Thursday. “What is common cause is that Parliament is a separate body, with its own rules and regulations and the courts should not interfere with other arms of the State namely, the Legislature,” Tsvangirai said.

The MDC president said the decision was a clear reflection of the state of affairs on the Bench: “a judiciary which in the post-Dumbutshena and post-Gubbay era has largely discredited itself by becoming a willing appendage of Zanu PF.” “Dubious and pro-executive decisions have been made in this era,” Tsvangirai said.

“We will not accept the decisions of some Zanu PF politicians masquerading as judges. Zanu PF is trying to use the courts to subvert and regain what it lost in an election.” There have been concerns that the current bench is largely composed of ruling party allies including the chief justice, who took over after Mugabe forced the country’s top judge to take a long leave of absence followed by early retirement. Judge Godfrey Chidyausiku, 64, former head of the High Court, has served as head of the judiciary from the time Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay retired on July 1, 2001. Gubbay agreed to retire early after government threats and intimidation for ruling against ministers over their controversial land reform programme. The government accused him of bias in favour of the country’s tiny white minority.

Mugabe pushed out the mainly white judges saying he wanted the courts to reflect the racial balance of Zimbabwe, a nation where less than 1 percent of the population is white. Gubbay was one of six whites among the nation’s 30 judges then. Two other judges were of Asian descent, and most of the country’s hundreds of magistrates were and are black. Since Chidyausiku took over, the judciary has been accused of bias.

Speaking on the arrest of Energy minister Elton Mangoma for the alleged embezzlement of US$4.4million in a fuel deal, Tsvangirai said the arrest of Mangoma was an attempt to cloud and obscure the massive corruption in Zimbabwe. Mangoma was picked up by three plain clothes police officers at his government offices, Chaminuka Building on Thursday in connection with a US$6 million fuel deal made privately in December with a littleknown South African company, NOOA, which the State Press here allege was made outside State Procurement Board procedures. “It is an attempt to embarrass the peoples party of excellence,” Tsvangirai said. He said police must first probe US$313 million missing from Marange diamond revenue, which has caused acrimony in the GNU between the Finance minister and the Mines minister. “Indeed, Zanu PF corruption infests and infects every aspect of our economy and Government,” Tsvangirai told reporters. “To take example amongst hundreds, in the past year, more than three official complaints of corruption have been made to the police against Minister Ignatius Chombo and yet the police have refused to investigate these allegations.

“The arrest of minister Mangoma is an attempt to cloud and obscure the massive corruption in Zimbabwe.” Tsvangirai said “these blatant attacks by a partisan police Commissioner-General, some sections of the judiciary and the Attorney-General represent a clear and present danger to the continued existence of this transitional government.” “This agenda has the overt support of a section in Zanu PF which was behind the violence in the country in the run-up to the 27 June 2008 sham election,” he said.

“Indeed the actions of this section of Zanu PF are not just to cause pain and suffering to the people of Zimbabwe, the workers, civic society and business, but are a vicious insult to President Zuma, SADC leaders and the entire people of the African continent. African people crave for peace, stability and democracy and Zanu PF represents the complete opposite of this.”

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