LAWYERS representing President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will today appear before the Constitutional Court (Concourt) following the withdrawal of the petition challenging the presidential poll results of July 31 polls by the latter.
Last Friday, Tsvangirai withdrew his Concourt application citing his failure to access voting materials used in last month’s disputed poll.
One of Tsvangirai’s lawyers, Chris Mhike, confirmed they would appear before the ConCourt today, but said they did not exactly know the issues behind their appearance.
“I can confirm we have been asked to appear before the court, but as of now I do not exactly know the reasons why we have been asked to appear,” Mhike said.
Explaining the withdrawal, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the party was no longer in a position to meaningfully argue its petition.
“When Mugabe made his contentious statements about the MDC and the election results being irreversible, he did so in the presence of the Chief Justice tasked with handling the case. There have been pre-trial statements by President Mugabe’s lawyers and the State media putting pressure on the Constitutional Court. We are therefore not in a position to expect justice so we have withdrawn our case,” Mwonzora said.
Responding to allegations that Tsvangirai could not withdraw his case, Mwonzora said they could not be forced to attend the court.
“We cannot be forced to appear in a court that we don’t want to appear in, so we are not obliged to attend. Anybody who is trying to get our attendance is doing so that we rubberstamp a process that we have lost faith in,” he said.
The withdrawal by Tsvangirai has paved the way for the swearing in of Mugabe. Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said if the court ruling was in Mugabe’s favour, then swearing-in would be within 48 hours in accordance with the new Constitution.
“I would not exactly say there are plans or no plans for President Mugabe’s inauguration this week, but we are going to follow what is in the new Constitution — that the President should be sworn in within 48 hours,” said Gumbo.
“What is most likely is that once there is a determination by the ConCourt tomorrow (today), and if it is within our favour, then we will do what the Constitution says,” he said.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was not available for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.