MDC-T baffled by Chidyausiku’s move to hear withdrawn petition

The Constitutional Court will on Tuesday rule on Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential poll petition, despite the MDC leader withdrawing the challenge Friday.

Tsvangirai formally withdrew his application challenging Mugabe’s victory in the July 31st poll, citing the unwillingness by the Electoral Commission to release the voting material which he needed to support his case.

Tsvangirai also cited the decision by the Electoral Court to defer ruling on his application for an order compelling ZEC to release the material he required.

The MDC-T leader further raised concern about Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s capacity to afford the MDC-T a fair hearing given his attendance of the Heroes Day commemorations where Mugabe attacked Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai’s affidavit, explaining the reasons why he withdrew his application.

But despite Tsvangirai withdrawing the case, Chidyausiku insisted that the matter be heard Monday and summoned Tsvangirai’s lawyers for a hearing.

Speaking after the hearing Monday, Mugabe’s lawyers said Tuesday’s court ruling will deliver “a full determination” on the initial MDC-T application, in what an observer said is a desperate bid by Mugabe to have his re-election endorsed by the country’s courts.

Tsvangirai expressed his puzzlement at the ConCourt decision to proceed with his case.

He said: “The Constitutional Court seems zealous to proceed with the case nevertheless. Despite our lawyers insisting that a fair hearing is impossible under the circumstances, the Court is adamant that it will rule on the case tomorrow.”

“Well, they can make their determination but it remains a charade in the absence of material required to expose the rigging. It is like being forced to play a football match with one leg tied. The referee is insisting I play but I refuse to be party to such a farce,” he said.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora re-stated his party’s position that they were baffled by the ConCourt’s insistence on a full hearing of the withdrawn case.

“We insist that a full hearing was impossible in the absence of the material that we have been denied. We came to court out of courtesy and respect for the institution, and not because we are enthusiastic about it.

“It was going to be unfair hearing anyway and we are happy that it’s over. They say they are going to make their determination but in the absence of which the ConCourt must know is required to make the case prosecutable, then that prosecution is impossible,” Mwonzora added.

Mwonzora said his party was not abandoning its fight against the stolen election, and indicated that they will continue pursuing legal and diplomatic avenues.

“We still maintain that this election was not free and fair and that it was a monumental fraud,” he said.

In reaction to SADC’s endorsement of Mugabe’s victory, Mwonzora said his party was not surprised: “It was to be expected anyway; we also notice that the summit has postponed its decision on whether this election was free and fair.

Our point is that this election was not fair and that SADC continues not to talk about that shows that they are finding it difficult (to say that it was). We will maintain our pressure that this was a stolen election,” he added.

Following another disputed presidential election result in 2002, Tsvangirai lodged another higher court application challenging the figures released by the registrar-general’s office which did not tally. But that decision was set aside by then High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo.

See Tsvangirai’s petition here http://www.swradioafrica.com/Documents/dropping_petition.pdf

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