ZANU PF has failed to pay billions of dollars to lawyers for services rendered in defence of 17 election petitions lodged by the opposition Movement fo
r Democratic Change.
The lawyers are based in Harare and Bulawayo.
Asked to comment last week, the ruling party’s secretary for finance, David Karimanzira, who is also Harare governor, said: “Ask people at the finance department at Zanu PF headquarters, they would know better.”
Workers at the department said they were not authorised to comment.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, lawyers this week said Zanu PF had resolved to fund the cost of the lawsuits on behalf of its legislators whose victory was in dispute, but was struggling to settle its debts.
“Last year the total bill was $4 billion and the party paid a quarter of that. The unpaid amounts would attract a 30% monthly interest,” a lawyer said.
“Every time we ask for the money we are told that cheques are ready but nothing materialises,” he added.
The MDC did not win a single case in the Electoral Court in all the 17 constituencies whose poll outcome was in dispute.
The opposition party in the 2000 general election and the 2002 presidential poll said the elections were not free and fair, citing among other things violence, politicisation of food aid and rigging. It won a number of related cases.
On Wednesday last week Innocent Gonese, the MDC’s parliamentary chief whip and secretary for legal affairs in the Morgan Tsvangirai faction, could not say how many of their cases were pending in the Supreme Court.
This week the Supreme Court ruled that the appointment of judges to the Electoral Court by the chief justice was inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution. This means the cases can be brought back to court.