HIGH Court records relating to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s 2000 parliamentary poll challenge in Buhera North are still missing, further delaying the legal pr
ocess, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said the registrar of the High Court only told their lawyers of the missing papers recently after they pressed the court to conclude the matter.
“When our lawyers were pressing for an appeal date, that is when they were told that the papers had gone missing (in May this year),” said Coltart.
According to documents in the possession of this paper, the senior legal process transcriber, a Mrs C Fambi, wrote a letter to the recording supervisor, a Ms Manhimanzi, about the missing records as early as May 29 last year.
“Today the 19th of May when I was sorting out for distribution in order for it to be transcribed I noticed that six tapes were missing but other cases were not tampered with,” the letter said.
“I secure my office every time I go out of office and home and there was no sign of a break (in) I noticed. Please if we can have security to our offices because we have records in our offices,” she said.
This means the case in which Tsvangirai successfully challenged the Buhera North parliamentary election outcome in the High Court will be further delayed.
In 2001 the High Court ruled that the poll was not free and fair and ordered a re-run. Zanu PF party candidate, Kenneth Manyonda, immediately appealed to the Supreme Court. The MDC has been successful in six of its 39 challenges to seats won by Zanu PF in the June 2000 general election.
These are Buhera North, Hurungwe East, Mutoko South, Chiredzi North, Gokwe North and Gokwe South. It lost 31 challenges. Two are still being challenged.
Judge President Paddington Garwe is yet to deliver a judgement in the Makoni East case. The lawyers, in a letter dated August 15 2002, said while they appreciated the pressure on Justice Garwe’s time, they asked him to deliver the judgement.
“This trial was completed before His Lordship on 28th May 2001, and judgement reserved sine die,” the letter said.
“We have made a number of oral enquiries since then and been advised that it has not been prepared yet,” the letter said.
In the Goromonzi election petition the MDC lawyers say Judge Ben Hlatshwayo dismissed the MDC petition without giving his reasons.
Tsvangirai has also launched a High Court challenge to President Mugabe’s victory in the 2002 presidential poll. That case has not yet been heard either.
The MDC leader in his challenge to the presidential poll outcome said the delays in setting down the dates for the hearing were unsatisfactory.
Coltart said the MDC was losing millions of dollars in appeals to have their cases heard.There were only 18 months left before the next general election, he pointed out.
Efforts to get a comment from acting Registrar of the High Court Charles Nyatanga were not successful.