HomeLocal NewsDivisions rock ED’s legal team

Divisions rock ED’s legal team


DIVISIONS have reportedly rocked President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legal team after it emerged that some of his lead lawyers gave him a wrong interpretation of the operations of the law regarding MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) presidential election challenge.


Some of the lawyers in President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legal team

Highly-placed sources in the legal fraternity told NewsDay yesterday that Mnangagwa had pencilled his inauguration on August 12, following advice from one of his lead counsels and was now seeking to argue before the courts that Chamisa’s petition was filed out of time.

“These arguments are embarrassing to the legal team, clear misreading of the law and misinformation being given to the President as advice is now frustrating other members of the team,” the source said.

The discrepancies were highlighted in a 17-page document prepared for Mnangagwa by Lewis Uriri, titled Ex Parte: Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, in which he urged his client to disregard findings by the instructing lawyers.

“Whether my instructing attorneys are correct in their interpretation that in view of rule 3 of the ConCourt Rules (2016), the last day of filing of a petition challenges, my consultant’s election as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe is the 16th August 2018,” Uriri wrote.

He added: “Whether my instructing attorneys are correct in their view that no election petition is filed, inauguration day would be Monday the 20th August 2018.

“My opinion and advice: A petition challenging my consultant’s election as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has the effect of delaying his inauguration up until the 25th of August 2018. He must, in any event, be sworn in no later than the 26th of August 2018”.

The memo showed that the initial advice was that Mnangagwa’s inauguration could only take place on August 20 and the technicality issue being raised by Zanu PF legal affairs secretary Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana that the court papers were filed out of time was reportedly based on Uriri’s interpretation.

Uriri told Mnangagwa that his inauguration date was supposed to be August 12, while Chamisa’s deadline for filing the challenge was August 10, instead of August 16.

“The time for any challenge to my consultant’s election as the President of Zimbabwe lapses at midnight on 10 August 2018. Inauguration day, in the event that no petition is filed, is Sunday the 12th of August 2018,” Uriri said in his advisory note to Mnangagwa.

His legal opinion, which informed the decision by the Zanu PF legal team to present itself at the Constitutional Court on Monday, a public holiday, was that section 93 of the Constitution did not relate to week days.

“Section 93 of the Constitution does not relate to seven week days, it relates to seven days. If the intention was to exclude Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, the legislature would have said so by using appropriate language. The simple reference to seven days is a reference to calendar days and includes weekends and public holidays,” Uriri said.

Contacted for comment on his advisory note yesterday, Uriri said he was not at liberty to discuss his client’s confidential matters with the Press.

“I note you have attached what purports to be an opinion allegedly given by me to Messrs Mutumbwa, Mugabe and Partners. I neither confirm nor deny that the said lawyers sought my opinion. My relationship with my clients is strictly privileged. I do not and will not discuss their affairs with unauthorised third parties, and certainly not with the Press,” he said.

But law lecturer Valentine Mutatu said if the interpretation by Uriri and Mangwana was correct, they should have filed their responses by August 13.

“If Mangwana and company are correct in their counting of days, if the application was served on Friday the 10th, then the last day of filing opposing papers was the 13th, but that cannot be because the courts, which don’t count the weekends and holidays, are closed. The court can, therefore, not count a day in which it is not possible for you to file papers,” Mutatu said.

Chamisa filed his court application on August 10 and managed to serve Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on the same day, according to his chief election agent Jameson Timba.

A lawyer, who refused to be named for professional reasons, said Mnangagwa risked being misled by his legal team.

“It’s clear that the President is being misled by his legal team. He needs to replace them, especially (his point persons). If you look at the history of some of them, besides the case where they are a litigant, you won’t find any case they argued and won that’s worth nothing. The one time they attempted to go to the ConCourt recently ended in a disaster. They misfired procedure,” the lawyer said.

Mangwana approached the ConCourt in case 02/14 representing Boas Mapuva and Zishe Chizani, which case was dismissed on a technicality in judgment CCZ 6/2015.

The court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, admonished Mangwana for failing to follow proper procedure by bringing the matter in an improper manner.

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  1. You are really rooting for the other side Newsday. Do not give people false hope like you did during the campaign period by giving us misleading rally pictures

  2. this same paper gave Chamisa a wrong impression during hz campaign n even on hz court challene n we all know what works happened as what happened.the law is silent as everyday is a day bt not a working day

    • MaDube and Zaka I don’t see where the paper is rooting for the other side. I think a point to note is the free advice being given to Mnangagwa to consider reviewing the team he has appointed to defend his case. Their wrong interpretation of the Law which technical issues they were trying to pin their hopes of the matter being thrown away on technical grounds has suffered a natural death as their hopes of filling opposing papers fell by the way side when they found the courts closed. That alone is a clear indication that before they have brought their purported argument before the courts nature has made it impossible for them to do so as their own last day to do the filling fell on a holiday thereby making it impossible for them to do so. If they failed to do so because the day is not a working day for the courts, then they cant bring that argument against another. That’s all the paper sought to clarify.

  3. they were filed out of time

    they had seven days filing always includes proof of service and theywere served late.
    they had a chance to request a recount within 48 hours they failed to comply.

    they did not obey the constitution again by announcing results pre ZEC thus inciting violence, making no effort to control same.

    Tahey now approach the constitutional court saying we have ignored the constitution and high court rules effective called a judge fraudulent when reading out the results, will you hear our case as good criminal citizens

    • Your English is soo bad and you dare speak about the law.Who said Chamisa wants a recount?A recount of stuffed ballots. He wants either nullification of the election or declaration by the concort that he was the winner, which is rightly so.

  4. Va John please familiarise yourself with the constitution, Section 93 to precise instead of just commenting on legal matters that you lack competence in. Here is part of Section 93 relevant to the presidential election petition for you below as it is word for word: 93 Challenge to presidential election
    Subject to this section, any aggrieved candidate may challenge the validity of an election of a
    President or Vice-President by lodging a petition or application with the Constitutional Court within
    seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the election.
    The election of a Vice-President may be challenged only on the ground that he or she is or was not
    qualified for election
    The Constitutional Court must hear and determine a petition or application under subsection (1)
    within fourteen days after the petition or application was lodged, and the court’s decision is final.
    In determining a petition or application under subsection (1), the Constitutional Court may—-
    (a) declare a winner;
    (b) invalidate the election, in which case a fresh election must be held within sixty days after the
    determination; or
    (c) make any other order it considers just and appropriate.

  5. You can only rig the election in a banana republic somewhere in some jungle out there not in Zim, the legal fraternity here has far too much integrity for that type of cheap nonsense from Zec & Zanupf

  6. BlessAing Mhlanga has a track record of spinning outright lies and serious exagerations. This legal team has no problem for Ed?’s vindication at all since there is no meaningful case on the part of the opposition. They have made too many wrong moves at a wrong time. Chamisa himself vowed before elections that he would accept no other result other than a victory and the judges were listening. Donald Trump foolishly and overtly fought in Chamisa’s corner by reintroducing ZIDERA and you truely believe any Zimbabwean judge will be impressed by that?!!! Chamisa has previously snatched power in his own party and the case related to that is still pending in the same court and you belive the judges are blind to that. The Mdc Alliance took to the streets to violently protest against the delay in the announcement of presidential poll results and at the same time they claimed there were no verified results as yet and you expect judges will be blind to that contradiction. The list is just too long.

    • The country is doomed if lawyers “think” like you childly do. This technical topic requires those who have at least a tertiary qualification to comment on, anything less one risks the chance of showing how much more they need to learn to get to start debating from a point of knowledge not ignorance. This is different from the “ED pfee” mantra zvavakuda gwazh.

    • My understanding is that judges have an obligation to preside over issues brought before them not on any wrong doing the complainant has done before. Its therefore wrong for you Farai to think that the judges are going to judge Chamisa’s case by the ZIDERA and violence allegations that the pfeerosians would want to throw on this Chamisa guy. Why do I seem to be reading that there is a lot of panic pfeerosian camp as exhibited by high emotions being exuded here.

  7. In an event, how did the reporter find himself at the Constitutionalcourt on a holiday? was he invited or he is part of the fiasco?

  8. Farai, Judgements are not made from the reports from the media as that would be hearsay, but facts and evidence do carry the day.

  9. @JOHN- Sometimes its good to be quiet than to make a fool out of yourself like Zanu Pf lawyers who are NOT at all familiar with the laws they should be upholding. Familiarise yourself with other reliable sources of info instead of relying on ZBC TV and beerhall talk.

  10. MaMDC munongozvinyebera always.Ipapa makufunga kuti muchapinda necourt imi makatadza kupinda nevote.Hope dzechembere kurota ichiyamwa.kkkk

  11. @JOHN- Sometimes its good to be quiet than to make a fool out of yourself like Zanu Pf lawyers who are NOT at all familiar with the laws they should be upholding. Familiarise yourself with other reliable sources of info instead of relying on ZBC TV and beerhall talk.

  12. zanupf your election stealing actions are known rememder JONATHAN MOYO .MUGABE KNOWS YOUR TRICKS SO CHAMISA KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING WAIT AND SEE

  13. Briefcase lawyers. Nothing will come out of this team. Whom have they represented in the past and won the cases; Non Kikiki

  14. When judgements are made, it is very very important to know wether the defentant is a first offender or not and that is an undeniable fact. That is why part of a sentence is sometimes suspended on condition that the one convicted will not repeat the same offence in a stipulated period of time. In particular, Chamisa’s craftineness and criminal tendencies are so glaring. Remember how his vanguard mafia almost burned Sisi Thokozani in a hut in Buhera. Thank God for the the then prevailing wet conditions. He Threatened to make Zimbabwe ungovernable and went on to cary out the threats on 1 August and has promised to bring some more of the same. He lied that America promissed him 15 billion dollars if he wins elections and went on to deny the lies on hard talk on bbc. He lied about Rwanda’s ict development and went on a war of words with President Kagame about the lie. I cannot exhaust the list in one instalment.

    • Don’t be surprised to end up seeing that you are now arguing with yourself, you have already been corrected before so in shona can jus sum up by saying gona kubatsirika.

    • Farai didnt your hear.Someone said refer to stautes not zbc or papers.a first offenders is someone with no previous convictions in a court of law.not media and opinion convictions

  15. For a political team lead by a lawyer and former Minister of Justice, the number of political gaffes that have been made is frankly disturbing; stretching all the way back to the announcement of the first cabinet in 2017, with its immediate “adjustments” to comply with our constitution.

  16. What I said relate to the article above in the sense that Ed’s legal team’s weakness need not to worry him since his rival’s intergrity and trustworthiness is aparenly questionable. If someone has lied to you many times before, what asurance can you have that he is not lying to you again today?

  17. wishful thinking the dream team will teach those young upstats a thing or two about the constitution and electoral law

    • John wamakisa pachaunga wadii kutaura nemutauro waunogona isu tinoseka zvedu tiri kuma terraces. You have to be careful with the Queen’s language or else you display your redundancy on the public fora.

  18. the Stories by newsday are always misleading and if you are not careful you end up in the same predicament like that day of shooting. the readers will have high hopes from false stories by this paper and the celebrate or unlawfully demonstrate ending up suffering. after reading these lies people should have an extra sense before they start celebrating or demonstrating.

  19. Our biggest problem seems to be the perpetual global mystery of manipulable or notoriously errant majority rule and the paradoxical necessity for its mandatory defense by intellectuals of merit.

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