Tsvangirai ruling hit by legal dispute

Click to follow

A legal judgment on Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in the alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe, has been postponed indefinitely because the presiding judge had reached a verdict convicting him without consulting two colleagues as legally required.

A legal judgment on Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in the alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe, has been postponed indefinitely because the presiding judge had reached a verdict convicting him without consulting two colleagues as legally required.

Authoritative sources said the two assessors had disagreed with the judge's verdict, leaving him with no option but to postpone it. The High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe, widely perceived as a supporter of Mr Mugabe, presided over the treason case with the assessors.

Mr Tsvangirai faces the death penalty if convicted. But under Zimbabwean law, all matters of fact should be decided by the majority from the two judges and his assessors; only the judge has the discretion to decide on matters of law. In this case, the sources said, all three should decide on the matter of fact: which is, did Mr Tsvangirai plot to kill President Mugabe?

If the majority answers the question in the affirmative, the judge would have the sole discretion to decide on questions of law, mainly the appropriate punishment to be imposed.

In the 2002 presidential election, Judge Garwe refused an opposition application to extend the days of voting despite long queues of stranded voters in urban centres who had not cast their ballots after Mr Mugabe cut the number of polling stations.

Comments