HARARE – Chief Justice Luke Malaba yesterday said Cabinet minister and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo did not exhaust all remedies available to him when he approached the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) to challenge the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (Zacc) arresting powers.
Malaba said this during the hearing of a constitutional challenge brought before the Con-Court by
Moyo last year, when he contested his brief arrest by Zacc when it swooped on him over a slew of charges relating to graft.
The Con-Court has reserved ruling on Moyo’s application.
During the submissions, Malaba suggested that before coming to the Con-Court, Moyo could have made his application after his arrest at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
“Why did you not go to the magistrates’ court to argue your case? The magistrates’ court has the power to decide on an arrest which is unlawful,” Malaba said.
He said that the case could have taken 48 hours to be completed, as opposed to the current state where it has been dragging for months.
Malaba said that the magistrates’ court was the best forum to decide on issues brought by Moyo, adding that if he had succeeded, he would have been released immediately in terms of the law.
His remarks followed a spirited argument by the State which said Moyo’ s application had not been properly brought to the court as he had not exhausted all the avenues available to him.
Vernanda Munyoro from the Attorney-General’s office said Moyo had chosen the wrong remedy (by going to the Con-Court) instead of approaching the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
In his application, Moyo, who cited police sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha, Zacc, commissioner-general of police Augustine Chihuri and the (acting) Prosecutor-General Ray Goba, as respondents, is questioning the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police.
Moyo’s lawyer Lewis Uriri, who was instructed by Terence Hussein, said that his client wanted to protect his right to liberty, which is a fundamental issue.
Uriri said approaching the magistrates’ court was one of the remedies, while arguing that the Con-Court could also deal with the case.
Last year, Zacc caused a huge political storm in the faction-infested Zanu PF when it tried to arrest Moyo over graft charges in a move which fuelled the party’s infighting as the anti-graft body’s pursuit of the Tsholotsho North legislator decidedly took a factional tone.
Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa are facing serious fraud, money laundering and criminal abuse of office charges, including claims that the Zanu PF politburo member benefited from Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) donations that involved the purchase of bicycles which he donated to his Tsholotsho North constituency — all of which Zacc alleged was not done above board.
Zacc had Moyo briefly arrested — prompting him to challenge the constitutionality of its arresting powers — with the late retired chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku suspending his prosecution pending the outcome of the Con-Court application.
Moyo, who is said to be a key member of the Zanu PF faction going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), has accused Team Lacoste (Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction) and key players at Zacc of waging a factionally-driven war against him.