14 June 2012

Zimbabwe: High Court Judge Grants Tsvangirai Permission to Sue Mugabe

A High Court ruling on Monday gave Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the green light to sue Robert Mugabe but has been described by analysts as symbolic, more than anything else.

High Court Judge George Chiweshe ruled that the MDC-T leader can challenge Mugabe, for unilaterally appointing 10 ZANU PF provincial governors without consulting him.

Through his lawyer Selby Hwacha, on November 24th 2010 Tsvangirai filed a petition with the High Court seeking to reverse the unilateral re-appointment of the governors.

Mugabe has long protested that he had the right to appoint them without consulting anyone in the GPA.

The MDC leader however argued that the appointment was unconstitutional. Mugabe's lawyers were given 10 days to file opposing papers to Monday's judgement.

Lawyer and political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that there is nothing to write home about as Mugabe had the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, where it can take even more years for the case to be concluded.

'I think it's just a symbolic judgment and what people should know is that a sitting president cannot be hauled before a court of law. If Judge Chiweshe had made a declaration ordering Mugabe to make new appointments, then that would be relevant but for now, I think we should be asking ourselves the relevance of that judgement,' Mhlanga said.

Simon Muchemwa, our Harare correspondent, told us many people viewed the judgement as academic and something meant to pacify those who criticize the judiciary as being compromised and favouring ZANU PF.

'People are saying that case will never see the light of day. Additionally which judge would dare drag Mugabe to court and rule that he was in contravention of the country's laws.

'There is also suspicion the judgement could have been made so that it appears Mugabe was finally making some movement to deal with outstanding issues in the GPA. This is in relation to President Jacob Zuma's impending visit to Zimbabwe to deal with the outstanding issues still to be resolved,' Muchemwa said.

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