JONATHAN Moyo, the former Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the President, this week came to the aid of prominent lawyer Te
rrence Hussein who was last month accused by Information secretary George Charamba of unethical conduct for allegedly challenging a law he helped craft.
Hussein is representing Ndabenhle Mabhena who is challenging the constitutionality of sections of the Broadcasting Services Act.
Moyo in a supporting affidavit that was filed together with the notice of opposition, denied that Hussein helped him craft the Broadcasting Services Act.
“I am the one who, in my capacity as the then minister responsible for Information and Publicity, personally initiated and secured the professional services of Mr Terence Hussein to provide me with legal advice soon after this Honourable Court on September 22, 2000 struck down the monopoly of broadcasting services created by Section 27 of the Broadcasting Act,” he said.
Moyo said Hussein was not in any way involved in the drafting of the broadcasting law being challenged.
“The applicant (Hussein) was not in any way involved whether directly or indirectly with the drafting of the Broadcasting Services Bill which was done during my tenure as Minister of State for Information and Publicity, nor was he involved in the defence of the legal challenges to the Act between 2001 and 2002,” Moyo said.
Moyo said he never had any confidential agreement beyond the normal and standard client-attorney relationship with Hussein.
“At no time during the same period did Mr Hussein receive in writing or otherwise from me or from anyone else in my office any protected or confidential information or official secret,” added Moyo.
According to Moyo’s affidavit, Jennifer Tanyanyiwa, who at that time was at the Attorney-General Office, was responsible for drafting the Broadcasting Services Bill with his help. Mabhena, however, feels that the attacks on his lawyer are a tactic being used by Charamba to pressure Hussein to drop the case.
“The applicant has sought to trivialise my challenge by attacking and scandalising my legal practitioner. The aim of doing this is to get my legal practitioner to abandon me on the basis that the matter poses too high a personal risk against him. If my legal practitioner ceased acting, the applicant would be comforted in the hope that no other legal practitioner would want to go through this ordeal,” said Mabhena.
Mabhena added that the tactic is not new as individuals like the editor of the Daily News and directors and personnel of Capital Radio who have challenged aspects of the media legal regime in this country have suffered in one way or another for doing just that.