PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday withdrew his High Court application in which he was seeking to block President Robert Mugabe from proclaiming June 29 as the date for harmonised elections.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
This was after it emerged the dispute was not about harmonised elections, but by-elections for three Matabeleland constituencies.
Judge President George Chiweshe said the impasse between Mugabe and the three former MDC legislators had nothing to do with the Tsvangirai.
“I am interested in finding out on whether we should have by-elections or not and I am not here to decide on the general election date. The Prime Minister has nothing to do with the holding of by-elections,” Justice Chiweshe said.
Tsvangirai had submitted a joinder application with the three MPs after Mugabe had sought to hold harmonised elections by June 29. The Premier approached the High Court last Thursday requesting to be included as the fourth respondent in the matter together with three former MPs – Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu.
The trio has been fighting Mugabe in court demanding that he proclaims by-elections in the three constituencies that fell vacant after they were expelled from their party in 2009.
Justice Chiweshe is today set to decide on whether the current Parliament should be dissolved on June 29 according to Mugabe’s application, as opposed to October 29, an argument advanced by the former MPs.
“If Parliament will be dissolved on June 29, then it would not be possible to call for by-elections, but if it does on October 29, there will be time to do so,” Justice Chiweshe said before rolling over the matter to today.
The argument over the dissolution of Parliament came about after Mugabe abandoned his earlier application seeking interim relief from the courts to be allowed to conduct harmonised elections by the end of June.
Advocate Prince Machaya, who is representing Mugabe, indicated that his client’s application was now centred on the feasibility of conducting by-elections in June if Parliament would be dissolved around the same time.
Machaya said: “Our application does not involve the date on which harmonised elections should be held. Although we have indicated the terminal date in our papers, the interim relief initially sought now falls away.”
Tsvangirai’s lawyer Chris Mhike told the court that he would consult with his client on the possibility of withdrawing his joinder application now that the dispute centred on by-elections and not general elections.
“The basis for a joinder falls away and my learned friend (Machaya) is still taking instructions from his principals in finding an amicable solution to the matter,” Mhike said.