PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has asked the Constitutional Court to “disregard and dismiss” outgoing premier Morgan Tsvangirai’s petition for a nullification of the July 31 elections which were won by the veteran leader and his Zanu PF party.
Mugabe was declared the winner of the presidential vote with 61 percent of the ballots, against Tsvangirai's 34 percent. The MDC-T leader rejected the outcome, dismissing the election as a huge farce.
Tsvangirai subsequently challenged the poll at the Constitutional Court last Friday asking the vote to be nullified and a re-run ordered. The court is set to hear the case on Saturday.
The MDC-T leader also approached the Electoral Court seeking to have the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) compelled to release data and material to back his main challenge in a case that was heard before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on Wednesday.
Mugabe’s lawyers told the hearing that that Electoral Court had no jurisdiction over cases relating to presidential elections and should therefore refuse to hear the case.
“We argued that the Electoral Court has no jurisdiction to hear applications related to the petition of the election of a President among other issues,” said Advocate Fred Gijima, who is representing Mugabe.
“The most important issue is that of jurisdiction. Judgment has been reserved and it will be handed down in due course.“Whatever applications relating to any dispute arising out of the election of the president, that is removed from the Electoral Court and jurisdiction only lies with the Constitutional Court. The two applications should fail on that basis.”
The Zanu PF leader’s attorneys also accused Tsvangirai of insulting the country’s judiciary by claiming the courts were biased towards his rival.
“We said the applicants have approached the court with dirty hands,” Advocate Farai Mutamangira added.“In the petition, Tsvangirai’s lawyers attached a dossier of material prepared by the MDC-T, in which they insulted our Judiciary.
“They said our Judiciary is partisan and biased towards Zanu PF. We said no, you cannot appear before the Judiciary that you have insulted,” he said.
Justice Bhunu reserved his judgement.Meanwhile, Mugabe has also asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss the main poll petition seeking the nullification of the results arguing, among other issues, that Tsvangirai’s founding affidavit was not made under oath.
Through his lawyer, Terence Hussein, the Zanu PF leader said his rival wilfully filed an unsworn affidavit based on defamatory and unsubstantiated allegations designed to impugn the integrity and professionalism of innocent individuals and institutions.
“It appears the applicant filed an unsworn statement after he must have been advised by his lawyers not to swear to falsehoods out of the fear that he would risk committing the prosecutable crime of perjury,’’ said Mugabe.
“His entire founding affidavit is a mere statement certified by Duduzile Legal Practitioners as ‘a true copy of the original’ but there is no original copy filed with this Honourable Court which is sworn to by the applicant.
“It is trite to mention that there is a difference of night and day between a sworn affidavit and a statement merely certified as a true copy of the original without being sworn to by the author of the statement.
“It appears that the applicant filed an unsworn statement after he must have been advised by his lawyers not to swear to falsehoods (given to him by the British ambassador in Harare) out of the fear that he would risk committing the prosecutable crime of perjury.”
Mugabe also argued that Tsvangirai’s petition was based on “self-indulgent generalisations, sweeping statements and outlandish exaggerations” which are not made under oath.
“I would also like to place it on record that at the time the applicant filed his petition, he in fact, had no evidence whatsoever save for an unhelpful affidavit from one Tongai Matutu who was defeated in the election and a pamphlet of scandalous and unsubstantiated assertions,” he said.
“(The MDC-T leader” makes the wild claim that 10,000 people were assisted to vote in one unnamed constituency where allegedly some 17,000 votes were cast, but he does not give us the names of these assisted voters that were allegedly assisted, nor does he provide a single affidavit from a person who alleges to have been assisted against his or her will.
“While I am reliably advised that this court does not take into account the views of election observers or pollsters, it is instructive to note that, way before the elections, traditionally hostile regime-change-seeking organisations such Freedom House had projected Zanu PF and its Presidential candidate, well ahead of the applicant (Tsvangirai) and his now embattled party. The applicant himself concedes this point in his unsworn affidavit.”
The court is set to hear the petition on Saturday.