Mugabe’s lawyer pushes Tsvangirai on poll petition

Clemence Manyukwe


LEADER of the fractured Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, has abandoned his 2002 presidential poll petition prompting President Robert Mugabe’s lawyer to urge him to push on until the case is finalised.

In a l

etter dated September 1 written by Mugabe’s lawyer Terrence Hussein and addressed to the opposition leader’s attorney Bryant Elliot, Mugabe enquired when Tsvangirai would resume the inspection of ballot boxes his party suspended in December last year.

When the exercise was suspended the then MDC’s secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said the legal teams were breaking for Christmas and would resume in January, but the matter was not pursued.

The letter written to Tsvangirai’s lawyer reads: “You will recall that you filed a notice of appeal against the decision of Justice Hlatshwayo, dismissing the legal challenge to the election.

“We note that you have not paid any security costs, nor taken steps to prepare the record of appeal. Please take the necessary steps to ensure that the appeal is heard so that the petition, which your client filed, is finalised.”

Hussein wrote that he wanted to place it on record that the stalled verification exercise and Tsvangirai’s failure to follow up the appeal were causing delays in finalising the matter.

“You will recall that you initially indicated that you would continue the (inspection) exercise in January 2006. This date was then moved to February 2006 by yourselves. In February 2006, you then indicated that you (had) stopped the exercise indefinitely.

“So that the matter may progress, please indicate to us and the Registrar (of the High Court) whether you intend to proceed with the verification exercise which you suspended,” the letter added.

On Wednesday the Tsvangirai faction’s legal affairs secretary Innocent Gonese said: “The matter was in the hands of our lawyer Bryant Elliot.”