PRESIDENT-ELECT Emmerson Mnangagwa has accused opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s lawyers of insulting the judiciary at campaign rallies and also failing to submit all the alleged evidence of vote rigging and manipulation of the July 30 elections before the Constitutional Court, where he is challenging the presidential results.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In his voluminous response, Mnangagwa said Chamisa failed to meet the standards set out and, therefore, should not be heard in court (ConCourt), calling for his application to be dismissed.
“I am aware of a decision by this court to the effect that all evidence in an election challenge under section 93 of the Constitution must be placed before the court at the time the S93 is filed. Therefore, the S93 is not properly before the courts, firstly because it’s incomplete and thereby failing to meet the jurisdictional requirements … and secondly, because it was not properly served,” submitted Mnangagwa.
He further accused Chamisa and his legal team of trying to serve Attorney-General (AG), Prince Machaya instead of serving him at his residence and when he was eventually served, the service was out of time.
“The Sherriff only served the application on me on 11 August at 1030hrs, a day out of time. Consequently, there is no valid court application before the court,” Mnangagwa said.
“The application was filed on the 10th August 2018. I am sued in my capacity as a candidate and not as the President of Zimbabwe. Accordingly, service of the application ought to have been done at the address I gave to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in my nomination papers. This was not done. This is incurably fatal and cannot be condoned.”
Chamisa’s chief elections agent Jameson Timba said the AG had received the papers on behalf of Mnangagwa. But in his response, Mnangagwa said the AG had refused to take service of the papers.
“Naturally, the AG refused to accept service on my behalf. The applicant’s lawyers wrongfully insisted on leaving the incomplete A93 application. He was advised that certain compact discs would be served later. These still have not been served on me,” he said.
Mnangagwa also said he had not even received the evidence placed before the courts by Chamisa because it was missing from the application served on him.
“The application refers to a “bundle of evidence” in his founding affidavit. This was not part of the S93 application that was filed and irregularly served on me. I do not accept that this was valid service. Even assuming valid service, which is denied, the service of an incomplete application is not the service contemplated by law,” he said.
Mnangagwa submitted that in view of his submission, his election was not even being legally challenged and, therefore, the courts should dismiss Chamisa’s application.
“It follows that my election to the office of President of (the) Republic of Zimbabwe has not been validly challenged. I, therefore, urge this honourable court to dismiss this application as there is no valid challenge to my election. The tool of an election challenge is frequently used to cast doubt on the integrity of the election,” Mnangagwa submitted.
Mnangagwa further submitted that Chamisa had no right to approach the courts because at one of his rallies in Bulawayo, he told supporters that the courts were not independent and were the President’s bedroom.
“The next objection is that the applicant has scandalised the court (from) which he purports to seek relief and assistance. He has deliberately and consistently said that the court is a captive of the executive and an extension of my party. Throughout his campaign, applicant has said that he will not approach the courts of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Zanu PF leader said Chamisa had told his supporters during the campaign period that he would only approach the courts once he was in power and the judiciary had become independent.
“The applicant, having scandalised the court, cannot be heard until he purges his scandal. He is a legal practitioner. He took oath to uphold and obey the Constitution and laws of Zimbabwe. He remains an officer of the court, the third pillar of the State which he has decided to scandalise. He must purge his scandalous contempt. If he declines to do so, the inquiry required by section 93 (3) of the Constitution must be determined without him being heard any further in these proceedings,” Mnangagwa said.