Robert Mugabe responds to Tsvangirai’s lawsuit

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was "ill-advised and rash" when he filed a lawsuit against Robert Mugabe without following the proper procedure of suing the Head of State as outlined under the High Court Rules.

Responding to the application in which PM Tsvangirai is suing him over the appointment of Governors, Mugabe — through Justice and Legal Affairs Acting Secretary Mr Maxwell Ranga — said the application was in breach of Rule 18 of the High Court regulations.

According to the rule, "No summons or other civil process of the court may be issued out against the President or agai-nst any of the judges of the High Court without the leave of the court granted on court application being made for that purpose."

President Mugabe is cited in the application together with 10 provincial governors and Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo, in his capa-city as minister assigned to notify valid appointments in terms of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act.

Without delving into the merits of the court application, Mr Ranga contends in his affidavit filed at the High Court yesterday that the PM’s application was fatally defective.

"It is clear from the said rule that leave to institute proceedings against His Excellency, the President who has been cited as the first respondent, is required before an application may be instituted against him.

"The applicant (PM Tsvangirai) has neither alleged that he has obtained such leave, nor has he attached to his application proof of such leave.

"It is respectfully submitted that no such leave has been obtained in terms of the rules of this Honourable Court," stated Mr Ranga.

He added that the PM has not sought to explain why he did not comply with the mandatory legal position.

On that basis, Mr Ranga said, the President was not requi-red to address any other issues raised in PM Tsvangirai’s affidavit.

"The first respondent (President Mugabe) will suffice to say at this stage, that the applicant has been ill-advised and rash in approaching this Honourable Court.

"The first respondent will humbly pray that this ill-conceived application be dismissed as the rule relating to the requirement to seek leave is clear, unambiguous and has been frequently clarified by this Honourable Court," he said.

Mr Ranga also submitted that Mr Tsvangirai’s "casual regard for the law and rules" attracted an order for costs on an attorney and client scale for two lawyers.

The PM, early this month, filed his application seeking to set aside the appointment of 10 Zanu-PF provincial governors by the President.

He claims he does not recognise the governors because they were appointed without consulting him.

In his application, the PM claims that President Mugabe violated the Global Political Agreement as well as the Constitution of Zimbabwe in making the re-appointments with-out consulting him.

He further argues that provincial governors are appoi-nted in terms of Section 4 of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act Chapter 29.11.

To this end, claims Mr Tsvangirai, the President is legally bound to consult and agree the appointments of governors with him irrespective of the political party from which they may be appointed.

"His failure to do so renders the appointments null and void and liable to be set aside and justifies declaratory and other relief as set out in the draft order," says PM Tsvangirai.

Mr Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha is acting for the PM.