Mugabe's Machiavellian machinations have tested Zimbabwe's judiciary to the limits. Others would say they have corrupted it absolutely. He reckons he has one more swearing in.
Another testing political case has come up in the Supreme Court which is made more testing by the fact that even if a judgement is reached in favor of the petitioner, the remedy may be rendered meaningless by the elapsed time.
It comes a week after two other cases illuminated the failure of the Zimbabwean Supreme Court to deal with matters on time, even when it was clear that delayed justice would mean injustice; Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's challenging of the appointment of Governors who have now almost served their full term, and three MPs who were demanding elections in their constituencies, but whose victory now seems pyrrhic.
In the latest case the Supreme Court reserved judgment in a case in which a civil society activist is challenging the composition of the bloated cabinet and wants ministerial portfolios trimmed to 31.
Moven Kufa of the Voice for Democracy Trust (VODT) appealed to the Supreme Court after High Court Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe dismissed his application seeking to compel President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to adhere to the Constitution by reducing the ministerial complement of government to 31 from the current 41.
Although Justice Chiweshe noted that Kufa was right to say President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai had breached the Constitution by appointing 41 ministers instead of the 31 agreed under the Global Political Agreement, he ruled that granting Kufa’s application would destabilise the coalition government, cause unnecessary confusion and prejudice the public interest.
A determined Kufa took his case to the Supreme Court where his lawyer, Advocate David Ochieng today insisted that President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai had breached the Constitution by appointing ten more ministers than the constitutionally mandated 31.
Ochieng argued that the appointment of extra ministers by President Mugabe in consultation with Prime Minister Tsvangirai was unconstitutional and therefore null and void. He also argued that the bloated executive is unlawfully chewing up taxpayers’ money.
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai were cited as First and Second Respondents respectively, together with the "illegally appointed Ministers";Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, Minister of State in Vice-President John Nkomo’s Office Flora Bhuka, Minister of State in Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Office Sylvester Nguni, Minister of Health Henry Madzorera, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities Giles Mutsekwa and co- Minister of National Healing Sekai Holland.
The full Supreme Court Bench made up of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Justices of Appeal Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, and Anne-Mary Gowora, and Acting Justice of Appeal Yunus Omerjee heard arguments from Ochieng and President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, who opposed Kufa’s application.
Uriri also applied for a joinder of the three main political parties - namely ZANU PF, the MDC-T and MDC - to the application arguing that the political parties were responsible for nominating the ministers.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku reserved judgment in the matter. President Mugabe, acting in consultation with Prime Minister Tsvangirai, appointed a total of 41 government ministers in the chaotic February 2009 the formation of the coalition government.
Some Zanu (PF) Ministers just turned up at the swearing in ceremony, forcing President Mugabe, to go for an improptu consultation in which they agreed that MDC ministers would also be increased.
The number of ministers exceeded by 10 the 31 ministers provided for in terms of Article 20.1. 6 (5) of Schedule 8 to the Constitution. The ministers cited above were all appointed after the 31st appointee. Their appointments were thus made in excess of the 31 ministers provided for in terms of Schedule 8 to the Constitution.
Yet Some Cases Never See The Light of A Courtroom
The MDC Today Thursday, 19 July 2012 Issue - 397
Buhera - Buhera South Ward 30 chairman, Showman Mudiwa was yesterday arrested and detained by police at Birchneough Bridge police post for allegedly trying to incite violence and was fined $20.
Mudiwa was seen putting up MDC posters close to the venue of a Zanu PF rally. Mudiwa was pinning the posters as part of preparations for a scheduled district activity to be held at the end of the month.
The MDC condemns the unjustifiable arrest of its members by police and the partisan justice delivery system.
Mberengwa - The house belonging to Esau Gwatipedza Dube, the MDC Parliamentary candidate for Mberengwa West in the 2008 elections was petrol bombed by known Zanu PF youths militia early this month in Chingechuru Village, Ward 33, Mberengwa West.
The Zanu PF youths, led by one Lovemore Nzwirashe Hove broke into Dube’s house in the early hours of Sunday, 8 July and threw a petrol bomb into the lounge. No-one was injured in the attack although there were six minor children and several family members sleeping inside the house. Part of the house was damaged extensively and property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed.
Hove, Simbarashe Ndlovu and Nkambeni Ndlovu were positively identified as they fled from the scene by one Madyira, Dube’s employee who gave the Zanu thugs a chase. The three Zanu PF thugs are well-known for terrorising villagers with impunity with the blessing of Rugare Gumbo, the Mberengwa West MP and Zanu PF national spokesperson.
The arson attack was reported at Sandawana Police Station but the police only reacted 24 hours later. No arrests have been made to date and efforts by Dube to get a police RRB number have proved fruitless as the police claim the incident is not important.