The United States embassy described current Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku as a Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front stooge.
The embassy was commenting after judgment in the case of Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, which had been referred to the Supreme Court, had been deferred indefinitely.
Tsvangirai was being charged under the Law and Order Maintenance Act with terrorism and incitement after he said President Robert Mugabe should go peacefully or he would be removed violently.
His lawyer Chris Andersen challenged the constitutionality of the Law and Order Maintenance Act in the Supreme Court.
Justice Wilson Sandura deferred judgement indefinitely prompting the United States embassy to comment that the case had probably been deferred because Acting Chief Justice Chidyausiku had not yet been formally been appointed Chief Justice.
“It is unclear whether Chidyausiku, as Acting Chief Justice and a known ZANU-PF stooge, has the clout to convince the other justices that the LOMA sections are constitutional,” the embassy said.
“Recent conversations with the other justices tell us the rest of the bench favours striking down the LOMA sections in question. It may be Chidyausiku’s intention to delay a judgment as long as possible to keep the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the MDC leader and to give himself more time to figure out how to produce an outcome favourable to the ruling party.”
Viewing cable 01HARARE2173, ZIMBABWE SUPREME COURT DEFERS DECISION IN
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
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——————051FA5 131041Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9306
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 002173
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/11
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE SUPREME COURT DEFERS DECISION IN
TSVANGIRAI INCITEMENT CASE
PAGE 02 HARARE 02173 131041Z
REFS: A) HARARE 1536, B) HARARE 767
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES MARK WOERNER FOR
REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).
¶1. (U) THE ZIMBABWE SUPREME COURT DEFERRED INDEFINITELY
A DECISION IN OPPOSITION MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN
TSVANGIRAI’S CHALLENGE OF SECTIONS OF THE LAW AND ORDER
MAINTENANCE ACT (LOMA) AFTER HEARING ARGUMENTS FROM
TSVANGIRAI’S AND THE GOVERNMENT’S ATTORNEYS ON JULY 12.
THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE HAS CHARGED TSVANGIRAI WITH
INCITEMENT AND TERRORISM FOR PUBLIC REMARKS IN SEPTEMBER
2000 IN WHICH THE MDC LEADER SAID ZIMBABWEANS WOULD
REMOVE PRESIDENT MUGABE BY FORCE IF HE DID NOT “GO
PEACEFULLY.” AFTER HEARING BOTH SIDES, JUSTICE WILSON
SANDURA NOTED THAT THE LOMA WAS PASSED BY THE RHODESIAN
REGIME IN AN ATTEMPT TO SUPPRESS DEMOCRACY, ACCORDING TO
THE INDEPENDENT “DAILY NEWS.” CHRIS ANDERSEN, THE
ATTORNEY REPRESENTING TSVANGIRAI, REPORTEDLY STATED THAT
IF THE SUPREME COURT RULES THE LOMA SECTIONS
CONSTITUTIONAL AND TSVANGIRAI’S CASE GOES TO TRIAL IN
THE HIGH COURT, HE WOULD SUBPOENA ATTORNEY-GENERAL
ANDREW CHIGOVERA ON HIS SELECTIVE APPLICATION OF THE
¶2. (C) COMMENT: TSVANGIRAI’S CASE IS THE FIRST MAJOR
CONSTITUTIONAL CASE TO COME BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT
SINCE CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY GUBBAY STEPPED ASIDE IN
MARCH. ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU HAS NOT
YET BEEN FORMALLY APPOINTED CHIEF JUSTICE, AND THIS
COULD BE A FACTOR IN THE COURT’S DECISION TO DEFER
PAGE 03 HARARE 02173 131041Z
JUDGMENT. IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER CHIDYAUSIKU, AS ACTING
CHIEF JUSTICE AND A KNOWN ZANU-PF STOOGE, HAS THE CLOUT
TO CONVINCE THE OTHER JUSTICES THAT THE LOMA SECTIONS
ARE CONSTITUTIONAL. RECENT CONVERSATIONS WITH THE OTHER
JUSTICES TELL US THE REST OF THE BENCH FAVORS STRIKING
DOWN THE LOMA SECTIONS IN QUESTION. IT MAY BE
CHIDYAUSIKU’S INTENTION TO DELAY A JUDGMENT AS LONG AS
POSSIBLE TO KEEP THE CLOUD OF UNCERTAINTY HANGING OVER
THE MDC LEADER AND TO GIVE HIMSELF MORE TIME TO FIGURE
OUT HOW TO PRODUCE AN OUTCOME FAVORABLE TO THE RULING
PARTY. END COMMENT.