Zanu-PF’s secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has said that Nelson Chamisa’s South African lawyers should have applied for work permits 21 days before the Constitutional Court hearing if they wanted to appear in court. However, the Constitutional Court only had 14 days to decide the matter from the day that Chamisa filed his electoral petition. Chamisa’s foreign counsel, Jeremy Gauntlett and Advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. Here is an excerpt of Mangwana’s (MPM) interview with Veneranda Langa (VL) of The Standard,
VL: South African lawyer Dali Mpofu says you boasted to him that you drafted the law that was used to bar him from representing Chamisa in court. What is your reaction to that?
MPM: No, I did not block Dali and his colleagues from representing Chamisa. He applied for permission to practice law in this country too late.
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They were aware that there were 21 days to go if they wanted to appear in court, and why did they make the application 26 hours before the hearing? Mpofu should be more organised because Zimbabwe is not a banana republic. He should know that and respect our systems and policies.
He is not the first lawyer to practice within our jurisdiction, but they did not follow procedures and they should blame themselves. Whether the MDC Alliance had hired lawyers from Mars or whatever planet, they were still going to lose. I am not the regulatory authority in this country. They were supposed to make an application to the Council for Legal Education, which determines whether someone had the necessary qualifications to practice law in Zimbabwe, and I am not that council.
Unfortunately, he submitted late. Zimbabwe has rules and laws to be adhered to and I cannot also walk to South Africa to practice law. I should first be registered and Dali should know that.
VL: Was the decision to bar the South African lawyers not an infringement of Chamisa’s rights to have legal counsel of his choice?
MPM: No, it was not an infringement because Zimbabwe is not short of local lawyers. Why hire foreigners when our children need jobs?
Our local lawyers representing Chamisa put up a good fight, but they lost, and that is why I said even if they had hired lawyers from Mars, they would not have won. We do not have to hire foreign lawyers when we have our own local talent.
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi had previously stated that the government was not going to block Chamisa’s foreign lawyers from representing him.
We Thought Sanity Would Prevail To Allow Us To Argue Chamisa’s Election Petition – Advocate Dali Mpofu