By Anna Chibamu
ZANU PF secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana said Wednesday the state was well within its mandate to bar foreign lawyers invited to prop up losing MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa’s Constitutional Court challenge.
The Zimbabwean government came under heavy criticism this week for alleged attempts to throw spanners into Chamisa’s poll challenge by denying a team of lawyers flown from outside, some work permits, with Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi speaking to time constraints and procedural flaws.
Chamisa wants the country’s apex court to overturn President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s narrow poll victory citing massive poll fraud by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the incumbent’s behalf.
But responding to questions by the media Wednesday, Mangwana said permit denial was well within the country’s statutes adding that as legal practitioners from different countries, Chamisa’s lawyers should understand better.
“In order for you to work in another country, you need to comply with the laws of that country,” he said.
“I do understand the lawyers also had challenges with the immigration. I cannot just go to South Africa and start practicing without complying with South Africa’s domestic laws.
“It is not deliberate for government to stop them from working in this country.
“There is no automatic right of audience in Southern African Development Community (SADC). If I must practice law in South Africa, I should comply with its laws.
“There are lawyers in Zimbabwe. We have competent lawyers in this country. If they do not have a work permit, they cannot just jump into this country and start practising.”
Mangwana said this as two of Chamisa’s lawyers flown from outside were Wednesday denied access into the court building.
The Zanu PF legal affairs chief said he was satisfied with how his team argued their case during Wednesday’s court proceedings, insisting they were poised for a favourable challenge by the court.
“The matter so far is going well. We prepared well for the case and the rest is for the judges,” he said.
ConCourt is set to rule on the MDC challenge this Friday.