Monday, June 03, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai not above the law: Madhuku
02/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chief, Lovemore Madhuku, has said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was liable to contempt charges after accusing the country’s top court of overstepping its mandate when laying down a timeframe for new elections.

Tsvangirai – who has been pushing for new elections to be delayed to September – slammed the Constitutional Court when it ruled Friday that the new polls must be held by July 31.

“(The) ruling by the Supreme Court setting an election date is evidence that the court has overstepped its mandate,” Tsvangirai said immediately after the ruling was handed down.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play.”
But Madhuku said Tsvangirai’s remarks showed the MDC-T leader and his party were “ignorant of the law.”

“It is clear that what the Prime Minister has done is contempt of court. There is no doubt about that. He now wants to be seen as being above the law,” Madhuku said in an interview with the Herald Newspaper

“These people (Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party) are just ignorant of the law. They can destroy anything that stands in their way of political ambition. If it is the Supreme Court they will throw it away. If it’s ruling without Parliament they can do that.

“This is a very dangerous attitude for the country. They must know that constitutionalism is to have a good constitution in place which you must follow. Decisions relating to legal disputes are resolved by the Courts and Courts alone.”

Harare lawyer Terrence Hussein, who represented Mugabe in the case added: “The suggestion that the court overstepped its mandate is absolute nonsense.

“If there is anyone overstepping their mandate, it is the Prime Minister who should know better than to challenge the legal authority of a constitutional body. The court has the authority to act in the manner it did.

“The highest court has made a determination. The only way to overturn that decision is by having an Act of Parliament nullifying that decision. No other authority, even SADC, can do anything about it.”

Tsvangirai, who had opposed plans by Mugabe for an early election, recently toured the region to urge SADC leaders to press his rival over the implementation of further reforms before the polls can be held.

The regional grouping – which has helped facilitate negotiations between the coalition parties – is due to hold a summit over the elections this month.

Madhuku however, said the court ruling meant that the summit would now only discuss ways of funding the elections.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said the country does not have the estimated US$130 million needed to finance the elections.

“(The SADC summit) can only discuss about other things but not the proclamation dates while principals can only discuss about the actual dates,” said Madhuku.

“At the end of the day under the current circumstances, it is better for Zimbabwe to have a bad election than having no elections at all.”

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