Tuesday, June 25, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai’s lawyers giving him bad advice: analysts
This article was written by Our reporter on 21 June, at 01 : 01 AM

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is surrounded by incompetent lawyers who are giving him bad advice, legal experts said.

Critics from the legal fraternity say Tsvangirai erred in writing a letter to the Constitutional Court asking it to disregard the application filed by Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa seeking to extend poll dates from July 31 to August 14.

That application was submitted under oath.

Courts do not accept letters, but affidavits and sworn statements and they are not directed by anyone, including members of the Executive as that would defy the principle of separation of powers.

People do not give orders to the court, they make requests.

The prime minister’s legal team did not advise him accordingly or were incompetent, said Terrence Hussein of Hussein and Ranchod Legal Practitioners.

“I think the Prime Minister has been badly advised on that one. First of all, you do not write letters to the court, you file papers,” said Hussein.

“You do not give directives to the courts, you make requests. It would be considered to be most inappropriate to write letters to the court, it is lack of knowledge or bad advice.”

Another Harare lawyer who preferred anonymity because his firm handles MDC-T’s business, accused the Prime Minister of seeking to influence decisions of the courts.

“There is no room for such correspondence. The courts deal with sworn statements and not such letters that do not have any legal standing in court processes,” the lawyer said.

Professor Jonathan Moyo, MP for Tsholotsho North and Zanu-PF Politburo member also criticised the prime minister’s move arguing that he was badly advised by Bush lawyers.

Speaking to the Zimbabwe Guardian on Thursday, Professor Moyo, said there was a bunch of ‘bush lawyers’ surrounding the prime minister and they were giving him “bush legal advice”.

In another interview with The Herald newspaper, Professor Moyo was quoted as saying that Tsvangirai’s moves show that he is not fit for the role of president.

“The Prime Minister has proven himself to be the greatest threat to the rule of law in Zimbabwe. His attempt to influence the court is an insult not only to the court, but to the Constitution and especially to the concept of separation of powers which is the cornerstone of any constitutional democracy,” he said.

Prof Moyo also took a swipe at Tsvangirai’s legal team for failing to advise him correctly.

“It is clear he doesn’t have sound legal advice, he thinks everything is political and does not understand that the court proceeds on the basis of rules.

“The constitutional court is a rule bound institution; statements made in court are legal and are made under oath.

“You do not write letters to the constitutional court, you swear affidavits to the court. But for you to submit affidavits to the courts you need to respect the law and the truth and PM Tsvangirai respects neither.

“We would expect the lawyers to better advise their client even if it is the prime minister. In this case you can see a blatant disregard of rules by the lawyers,” Prof Moyo said.

“They want the minister to remove the application which he has submitted under oath and sign their application which is a complete misrepresentation of facts and force the minister to commit perjury,” he said.

He said the MDC formations wanted to hide to the court the background that led to the convening of the extraordinary Sadc Summit.

“They do not want the court to know they lobbied Sadc, they do not want the court to know they lobbied the facilitator, President Zuma and that they ganged up with three other parties, Zanu Ndonga, Zapu and Simba Makoni’s MKD.

“They want to hide the fact that they pretended to be making legal arguments at the Sadc Summit when they knew that Sadc is not a legal forum or court and that the Sadc Heads of State are neither lawyers nor judges,” he said.



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