Tuesday, June 25, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe, Zanu PF boycott coalition meeting
21/06/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

A COALITION leaders meeting flopped Friday after President Robert Muagbe failed to turn up, leaving the MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube kicking their heels for about three hours at State House before eventually leaving after realising they had been stood-up.

According to a statement issued by Ncube’s MDC party, the meeting was called “to discuss, hopefully conclusively” the SADC resolution urging the coalition government to appeal a Constitutional Court ruling ordering elections to be held by the end of next month.

Tsvangirai and Ncube turned up at State House with their delegations but left after three hours when it became clear that Mugabe and his negotiators would not turn up.

“We wish to put it on record that the meeting that was scheduled for (Friday) amongst the principals to the GPA namely Prof. Welshman Ncube, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and their negotiators chiefly Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga from MDC, Tendai Biti and Eric Matinenga from MDC-T, and Patrick Chinamasa from Zanu PF, has not taken place after the Zanu PF entourage failed to turn up,” the MDC said.

“Professor Ncube, Misihairabwi Mushonga, PM Tsvangirai, Biti, Matinenga and two other people all presented themselves at State House in readiness for the meeting. However, after waiting from 10 am until 13:00 hrs. for the Zanu PF group, who did not turn up, the MDC and MDC-T teams realised that their wait was futile and left to attend to other business.

“In apparent disregard for common courtesy, no explanation has thus far been given by the Zanu PF team for their non-arrival for this very important meeting. We hope that this is not a deliberate delaying ploy to render the SADC recommendations unachievable.”

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF were not successful as Chinamasa and, party spokesman, Rugare Gumbo’s mobile phones were out of reach.

Following an appeal by the MDC parties, SADC urged the coalition to approach the Constitutional Court and ask for a two-week delay to its July 31 deadline for new elections.

Chinamasa filed the application at the Constitutional Court on Monday, sparking further outrage from the MDC parties which accused him deliberately weakening the case so that the appeals and elections go ahead on July 31 as desired by his Zanu PF party.

Tsvangirai’s office later claimed that a meeting between Mugabe, Ncube and the MDC-T leader ordered Chinamasa to withdraw the initial application and submit another one after consultations with the other coalition parties.

But Chinamasa only requested the court to consider the initial appeal on an urgent basis in application which was granted by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

The case will now before heard before the court next Wednesday.
“The Chief Justice granted our application,” said Harare lawyer, Fredrick Gijima, who is representing Chinamasa.

“(Chidyausiku ruled that the application was urgent and he said it should be placed on a continuous court roll that starts on Wednesday to Friday next week.

“We were ordered to file all the relevant papers for the hearing by Monday. The court roll will have several other Constitutional applications related to elections.”

Lawyers for the MDC leaders confirmed the development adding they had however, expressed their clients' concern over Chinamasa’s failure to consult coalition partners before filing the appeal.

“We registered our concern that Minister Chinamasa filed the application on behalf of Government without consulting other members of the inclusive Government,” said Advocate Thabani Mpofu who is representing Ncube.

Tsvangirai’s lawyer Chris Mhike added: “We agree that the matter is urgent and it is of national interest, but we registered our displeasure that Minister Chinamasa could have involved others in the drafting and filing of the application.

“We wanted him to withdraw the application and file another one in consultation with other members of the inclusive Government, but his lawyer refused.”

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