Home » Governance » Moyo Defends Mugabe Over Judges Threat

INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo has risen to the defence of President Robert Mugabe, insisting the Zanu PF leader was not threatening the country’s judges when he suggested that no court could hear the case brought against him by Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.

Said Moyo in a statement Sunday: “President Mugabe said it would be a case of interference in Zanu PF internal matters that are not legal but are ideological and political should the courts entertain Mutasa’s matter.

“It is thus shocking that some lawyers who should know better have sought to misrepresent the President’s remarks as a threat to the rule of law.

“This is particularly true of outrageous claims that President Mugabe is allegedly prejudicing and pre-empting the case brought by Mutasa and Gumbo while also allegedly compromising the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.”

Gumbo and Mutasa, both expelled from Zanu PF for allegedly backing a coup plot against Mugabe, have approached the High Court challenging the legality of the December party congress which ousted them and reduced former Vice President Joice Mujuru to an ordinary card carrying member.

Prior to the filing of the application, Mugabe warned his former aides against taking the matter to the courts, saying they should, instead, exhaust internal Zanu PF mechanisms to seek redress over their supposed grief.

But Mutasa and Gumbo defied the President, prompting another rant from Mugabe who, last Friday, told a rally in Chirumanzi-Zibagwe constituency that he would want to see the qualifications of any judge who agrees to hear the case.

Legal experts and opposition parties immediately accused Mugabe of trying to intimidate the country’s courts and, therefore, undermining the rule of law.

But Moyo said the critics were misdirecting themselves in twisting the President’s statement.

The minister took particular exception comments by UK-based legal expert and political commentator, Alex Magaisa and NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku, a law lecturer.

“It is wrong and unacceptable that some lawyers who are known to belong to some beleaguered opposition political parties, such as Alex Magaisa and Lovemore Madhuku, have sought to abuse their legal robes to misinform the public about the legal import of President Mugabe’s statement last Friday, that he could not see how any court of law could entertain the recent court application by Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo against Zanu PF, in which the President is cited as a Second Respondent,” said Moyo.

He rejected suggestions that Mugabe was trying to instil fear in the judiciary.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Moyo.

“This is because the legal import of all that President Mugabe said last Friday is that as a litigant in the matter and in terms of the law, the courts have no jurisdiction to determine a case involving Zanu PF as a private voluntary organisation in which the complainants, Mutasa and Gumbo, who were members of the party before their expulsion, neither sought nor exhausted all the domestic remedies available to them at the material time.”

Mugabe, the minister added, was entitled to question the jurisdiction of the courts in a matter involving a private, voluntary organisation.

“Anyone who knows anything useful about what goes on daily in the courts must know that challenging the court’s jurisdiction is commonplace,” said Moyo.

“In the circumstances, it is amateurish and gutter politics for a lawyer, such as Alex Magaisa, to claim as he did that President Mugabe’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the court in Mutasa’s case is allegedly ‘in bad taste’ and allegedly ‘has the net effect of inducing fear among the judges given the position he (the President) held’.

Moyo continued: “It is the likes of Magaisa, not President Mugabe, who seek to use their political hogwash to induce fear among the judges on the basis of fictitious threats.

“It’s nonsensical and an insult to the judiciary for the Magaisas of this world to unashamedly claim that judges are intimidated by litigants who, as President Mugabe has done, challenge their jurisdictions.

He added: “The loquacious lawyers (Madhuku and Magaisa) who are better known for their failed politics than any legal success have not interrogated the legal implications of having a sitting President cited as a respondent without any legal basis.

“Surely, having been improperly cited in a political case with no legal justification, President Mugabe is fully entitled in our constitutional democracy to respond both politically and legally to the matter.”

Source : New Zimbabwe