HARARE – MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa may have to fork out more than $3 million to meet the costs of his election petition loss at the Constitutional Court.
Mr Chamisa sought to overturn President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s July 30 election victory, but the ConCourt unanimously dismissed his challenge with costs.
Speaking to State media yesterday, Zanu-PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Paul Mangwana said the ruling party’s lawyers were quantifying the exact amount due to them, but they had indicated an approximate bill of $3 million.
That figure excludes what the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s legal bill.
“Lawyers charge according to the number of hours they spend on a case. You will appreciate that a humongous amount of hours were spent on this case because of its high profile nature and also because of the need to ensure that everything was on point,” he said.
Mangwana said the final bill required approval of the Registrar of the Court.
“The amount has to be in line with the prescribed rates which lawyers charge. Such rates are approved by the Registrar of Courts who also has to grant the approval. The amount will also undergo the necessary taxation processes,” he said.
Mangwana said in the event Mr Chamisa failed to pay, the opposition leader risked losing his personal property.
“What the ruling means is that Zanu-PF doesn’t have to pay, it is Chamisa who has to pay our lawyers. The law says if he doesn’t pay we will have to attach his personal property.
‘‘This law is made to guard against people who approach the courts with cases that are not of any substance,” he said.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba announced the ConCourt’s unanimous decision thus: “It is not for the court to decide elections, it is the people. It is a duty of the courts to strive in public interest to sustain that which the people have expressed their will in.
“Therefore their application ought to be dismissed. In the result, the following order is made. The application is dismissed with costs.”