Speakership Challenge Judgement Reserved

THE High Court yesterday reserved judgement in a case where former Information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo is seeking the nullification of last August’s election of MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly on the grounds that the poll was flawed.


Professor Moyo, the Tsholotsho North MP, wants Justice Bharat Patel to declare the election of the Speaker a farce.

Lawyer Terrence Hussein representing the lawmaker told the court that the MDC-T chairman’s election was flawed citing incidences where the secret ballot was “brandished” to the public as evidence that the election process was not in line with best practice.

Lovemore Moyo beat MDC-M secretary for elections Paul Themba Nyathi —who had the backing of Prof Moyo and Zanu PF — for the speakership.

Lovemore Moyo garnered 110 votes while Nyathi polled 98 amid claims that some MDC-M and Zanu PF lawmakers voted for the MDC-T candidate.

Hussein said MPs “did not fold” the ballot in the booth and this defeated the whole concept of a secret ballot.

He also said the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, tasked to conduct the election, failed to execute his duties by not restoring order in the House despite clear indications that there was “chaos” in the chamber.

This, Hussein argued, could have been avoided by putting the vote on hold until order prevailed.

The lawyer further argued that Zvoma did not rein in the “fracas” to ensure the vote was in line with rules.

But advocate Mathew Chaskalson representing the Speaker defended the voting process saying no objections were raised during the poll.

He argued: “This is because no party should wait and see who wins and then raise complaints.

The applicants cannot seriously submit that they could not object in the voting process.”

Choise Damiso, counsel to parliament, also defended Zvoma saying no formal objections had been raised on the day in question, a development giving credence to the outcome of the vote.

She averred that Zvoma was an innocent bystander in a vicious political storm.

On the charge that the atmosphere was chaotic in the House and that the only reasonable action that could have been taken would have been to the stop the process.

Damisa argued that the situation seemed disorderly because of the “dramatic growth of parliament” but was otherwise conducive to the poll.
 

BY CHRIS MURONZI

Top