Legislators Turn Heat On Judge

Justice Chiweshe, who led the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that presided over the violent and controversial harmonised elections and the discredited June 2008 presidential re-run election, recently granted Mugabe six months to comply with a Supreme Court order compelling him to declare dates for by-elections in Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East.

Chiweshe, who in 2008 led the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which delayed the announcement of presidential results by more than six weeks for unclear reasons amid wide speculation that the electoral management body used the delay to manipulate figures to deny Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai an outright victory against Mugabe said he will give his reasons for the order later.

But the three former MDC legislators Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu through their lawyers this week petitioned Chiweshe demanding to be provided with reasons for his decision which could enable them to consider noting an appeal against his ruling in the Supreme Court.

“We kindly request to be furnished with a copy of the reasons for ruling as per the Honourable Judge’s undertaking to the parties. Please take note that the respondents, who are our clients, urgently require the said reasons to enable them to pursue an appeal in the Supreme Court,” reads part of the letter written to the Registrar of the High Court.

Last month Mugabe petitioned the High Court in a bid to evade contempt of court charges by begging for an extension of time allowing him to call for elections by March 31, 2013 rather than October 1, 2012 as dictated by the Supreme Court recently.

In his urgent chamber application, Mugabe justified the extension as necessary to allow his government to raise financial resources amounting to almost $270 000 needed to stage a referendum on a new draft governance charter, hold by-elections and harmonised general elections planned for March 31 2013.

Mugabe’s elections dilemma was brought upon him by three former MDC legislators Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu, who in 2010 took him to court demanding the staging of by-elections after their parliamentary membership was terminated following their suspension and subsequent expulsion from the MDC party.

Mugabe’s latest bid for an extension was the second one inside one month after he first obtained a reprieve in the High Court late last month when Justice Chiweshe granted a consent order extending the period within which he should fix by-elections dates to October 1, 2012.