THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) today said it will continue to hear MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s electoral petition despite its withdrawal last Friday in a move that will leave MDC-T saddled with a huge punitive legal bill for its attempted legal recourse.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku asked the lawyers to continue to argue their cases before the full bench despite Tsvangirai filing an affidavit to withdraw the petition last Friday.
The ConCourt is now expected to make a ruling on the application tomorrow and decide whether Tsvangirai will have to pay costs on a high or ordinary scale in view of his petition withdrawal.
President Robert Mugabe’s lawyer Advocate Fred Gijima said they want the court to order Tsvangirai to pay costs on a higher scale for his actions and the raising of “spurious” allegations.
“We are asking the court to impose costs against Tsvangirai on a higher scale because of his conduct and his lawyers who deliberately casued the defendants to unnecessarily incur bills knowing their petition was spurious,” Gijima said.
“We spent the whole holidays (Heroes day and Defence Forces Day) with the President taking instructions and Tsvangirai must pay all these costs. His withdrawal affidavit was supposed to be apologetic but it further makes more spurious allegations.”
However, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Tsvangirai had withdrawn the petition because the High Court had not allowed the party access to ballot material used in the elections thus handicapping its case.
Mwonzora said: “For the aforementioned reasons we think the court should order the payment of costs on an ordinary scale.”
Tsvangirai had accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of abetting Mugabe in rigging the polls. In his founding affidavit, he also accused the judiciary of being biased. Tsvangirai withdrew his petition on the eve of Saturday’s hearing citing inadequate evidence after the High Court did not allow his party access to ballot material.