Monday, June 17, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) Sadc resolutions: Mugabe still has the ball
This article was written by Our reporter on 16 June, at 14 : 09 PM

Sadc, on 15 June 2013 in Maputo, acknowledged it has no mandate overriding court decisions in member states, or urging sitting Heads of State to disregard court rulings. In that respect it reaffirmed the Constitutional Court decision.

However, in view of concerns raised by the two MDC formations over voter registration, the Extra Ordinary Summit urged President Mugabe as First Respondent to table the matter with the Constitutional Court for an extension of the voting deadline by two weeks. It stressed that in the final analysis it was up to the Constitutional Court to consider this appeal: to grant it or to throw it out. Whichever way, the court decision would decide the day.

In fact one of the Heads of State not only stressed that court judgments must be respected. He advised the meeting to take note of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s appeal and wait for its fate. Whereupon the Prime Minister promptly confessed that he had not made an appeal as it was a mere thought! That clearly indicated all this brag about legal action was not just false but also futile, which is why the prime minister wanted the Summit to bind President Mugabe to note an appeal.

Now there are three things to bear in mind.

Firstly, the first respondent – President Mugabe – has the prerogative to appeal. And to do so he has to find good grounds for doing so. In fact he is already complying with the court judgment, therefore would be futile to reconsider his compliance. He would be breaking the law, under political pressure from the Executive. This sets a wrong precedent for the separation of powers in the country.

Secondly, the Constitutional Court has to want to consider the appeal, with the attendant implication that it would have, by that very action, created an appeal court to its own decisions called Sadc. This has floodgate and sovereignty implications which undermine the court for allowing to vary its decision when the First Respondent is already complying, and following an appeal by a political body.

Thirdly, the Court has to make a decision once it decides to consider the appeal. It could throw the matter out, or grant an extension. But what would that mean to its original reasoning. While it is not bound by its own decisions, it is simply inconceivable that a court which decided by a 7-2 majority would have a different outcome two weeks later.

If you see matters from these three points you then begin to appreciate that President Robert Mugabe still has the ball.

Opinion by Anonymous

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