Tsvangirai is in contempt of court – Madhuku
HARARE – President Mugabe’s ally and 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 and called for the Prime Minister’s arrest and
face 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
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.