Zimbabwe: MDC and ZANU-PF to answer for unconstitutional acts in court

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A political pressure group in Zimbabwe, The Voice for Democracy Trust has dragged President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to court for the alleged flouting of a section of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai are the first and second respondents in a case filed at the High Court last week. According to the court application the two rival leaders appointed 41 people as ministers in February last year as opposed to the 31 prescribed by the GPA.

ZANU-PF nominated 15 ministers; 13 were from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and three came from a breakaway MDC faction.

The inclusion of the extra 10 faces was unconstitutional and effectively bloated Cabinet, which is now a drain on the taxpayer, said Moven Kupa on behalf of the pressure group.

The court action seeks to have an order declaring the extra appointments null and void as well as to have regulations done by the respective ministers to be of no legal force following the formation of the inclusive government.

As a result of the alleged failure to adhere to the constitution, the applicants are seeking to have the High Court declare the swearing in of five ZANU-PF Ministers — Saviour Kasukuwere, Joseph Made, Walter Mzembi, Flora Bhuka, Sylvester Nguni as well as the MDC-T’s Henry Madzorera, Giles Mutsekwa and Sekai Holland — null and void.

The ministers were cited on the grounds that they were sworn in after the required number of each respective political party’s quota had been exhausted.

ZANU-PF’s John Nkomo and the MDC-M’s Gibson Sibanda, according to the application, were irregularly sworn in, but there is no court action against them as they are no longer ministers, with the former now the country’s Vice President and the latter having been demoted to a consultant in the organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Reintegration.

According to Article 20.1.6(5) of Schedule 8 of the Constitution: “There shall be thirty-one (31) Ministers, with fifteen (15) nominated by ZANU-PF, thirteen (13) by MDC-T and three (3) by MDC-M.”

The constitution Schedule 8 “prevails notwithstanding anything to the contrary.”

“Taxpayer’s money is being unconstitutionally and unlawfully disbursed in the form of salaries and benefits, which are not due to the persons listed above who are unconstitutionally purporting to carry out ministerial duties.

“I submit that as a taxpayer, I am prejudiced by such unconstitutional and unlawful disbursements, as are other taxpayers in Zimbabwe,” said Kupa in his papers filed by Harare lawyer, Nokuthula Moyo.

“As a citizen of Zimbabwe I am entitled to demand that the Constitution is respected and upheld, and that the legislative process is not compromised by these unconstitutional appointments. Any executive act undertaken by the unconstitutionally appointed ‘ministers’ is null and void, including the making of regulations.

“I am entitled as a citizen of Zimbabwe to demand that government is structured in accordance with the Constitution and that constitutionality and the rule of law are followed by the 1st and 2nd respondents.”
The Attorney General (AG)’s Office, which represents the government, is yet to oppose the application.

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