Chinotimba evades security to get to Chief Justice


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War veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba evaded security at the Supreme Court to get to the lobby where he phoned Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay demanding the keys to his official Mercedes Benz before being removed from the building without incident.

Gubbay refused with his keys but the following day he signed an agreement with the government to step down as chief justice.

When asked by Gubbay about the incident Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who brokered Gubbay’s resignation said he did not have any control over Chinotimba who was acting on his own.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE918, ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT AND CHIEF JUSTICE REACH NEW

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE918

2001-03-05 15:01

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

051501Z Mar 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2296

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00918 01 OF 02 051503Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00  IO-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————CDC0EF 051504Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8352

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000918

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00918 01 OF 02 051503Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT AND CHIEF JUSTICE REACH NEW

AGREEMENT ON CHIEF JUSTICE’S DEPARTURE

 

REFS: A) HARARE 861, B) HARARE 644

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (U) A LOOMING SHOWDOWN BETWEEN ZIMBABWE’S EMBATTLED

CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY GUBBAY AND THE GOVERNMENT OF

ZIMBABWE (GOZ) WAS AVERTED MARCH 2 WHEN GUBBAY AGREED TO

THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE, AND THE GOZ

AGREED TO RETAIN GUBBAY’S JUDICIAL PRIVILEGES AND

REFRAIN FROM DEMANDING THE RESIGNATION OF MORE JUSTICES.

GUBBAY DEFIED GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTS TO REMOVE HIM EARLY

WHEN HE SHOWED UP FOR WORK ON MARCH 1. JUSTICE MINISTER

PATRICK CHINAMASA HAD SAID GUBBAY’S TERM WOULD END ON

MIDNIGHT FEBRUARY 28 AND THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO MOVE OUT

OF HIS OFFICES AND OFFICIAL RESIDENCE BY MARCH 9 (REF

A). GUBBAY HAD TOLD CHINAMASA THAT GOVERNMENT’S

INTENTION TO APPOINT AN ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE WAS ON

DUBIOUS LEGAL GROUNDS AND IN CONTRAVENTION OF GUBBAY’S

ORIGINAL TERMS OF DEPARTURE AS AGREED ON FEBRUARY 2 (REF

B).

 

2. (C) ACCORDING TO MORDECAI MAHLANGU, GUBBAY’S

ATTORNEY, THE CHIEF JUSTICE “GOT MORE THAN EXPECTED”

FROM THE NEW AGREEMENT AND IS REASONABLY HAPPY WITH THE

TERMS OF HIS DEPARTURE. GUBBAY WILL REMAIN AS CHIEF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00918 01 OF 02 051503Z

JUSTICE THROUGH JUNE 30 (AS ORIGINALLY AGREED), AND WILL

GO ON LEAVE FROM NOW UNTIL HE RETIRES. GUBBAY WILL

RETAIN HIS OFFICIAL VEHICLE AND OFFICES UNTIL JUNE 30,

AND HIS OFFICIAL RESIDENCE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, MAHLANGU

TOLD US. GUBBAY WILL ALSO BE PAID HIS NORMAL SALARY

DURING HIS LEAVE, AND WILL RECEIVE HIS NORMAL PENSION

AFTER RETIREMENT. THESE WERE PARAMOUNT CONCERNS OF

GUBBAY, ACCORDING TO HIS ATTORNEY, BECAUSE SOME JUSTICES

PERCEIVED AS ANTI-GOVERNMENT WERE DRIVEN INTO POVERTY

AFTER THEIR RETIREMENT.

 

3. (C) THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT POINTS OF THE AGREEMENT

THAT WERE NOT PART OF THE ORIGINAL TERMS OF DEPARTURE,

ACCORDING TO MAHLANGU. THEY ARE: 1) THE GOZ HAS AGREED

NOT TO ACT UNLAWFULLY TOWARD THE REMAINING JUSTICES,

I.E. NOT TO FORCE THEIR EARLY RETIREMENT THROUGH ILLEGAL

MEANS (COMMENT: PRESUMABLY THIS MEANS THE GOZ COULD

STILL APPOINT TRIBUNALS TO INVESTIGATE THE JUSTICES, AND

IT PROBABLY WILL. END COMMENT.), AND 2) GUBBAY WILL BE

PERMITTED TO ACT ON BEHALF OF OR DEFEND THE REMAINING

JUDGES WHILE HE REMAINS IN OFFICE. ACCORDING TO THE

CONSTITUTION, ONLY THE CHIEF JUSTICE CAN RECOMMEND TO

THE PRESIDENT THAT A TRIBUNAL BE SET UP TO INVESTIGATE

THE REMOVAL OF A JUDGE. (COMMENT: THE CONSTITUTION

MAKES NO PROVISION FOR AN ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE’S POWERS

IN RECOMMENDING A TRIBUNAL, NOR IS IT CLEARLY DEFINED IN

GUBBAY’S AGREEMENT. THIS IS LIKELY TO BE A MAJOR POINT

OF CONTENTION IN THE FUTURE. END COMMENT.) GUBBAY WILL

ALSO REMAIN A MEMBER OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION,

WHICH OVERSEES THE JUDICIARY AND APPROVES APPOINTMENTS,

AND HE COULD INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF OTHER JUDGES THROUGH

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00918 01 OF 02 051503Z

THIS BODY. IF THE GOZ BREACHES ANY OF THESE PROVISIONS,

THE WHOLE AGREEMENT WILL BECOME NULL AND VOID, THE

ATTORNEY SAID.

 

4. (C) AS PART OF THE AGREEMENT, GUBBAY RELENTED ON THE

GOZ’S DEMAND TO APPOINT AN ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE WHILE HE

IS ON LEAVE, GUBBAY’S ATTORNEY TOLD US. MAHLANGU SAID

MUGABE ALMOST CERTAINLY WILL APPOINT THE ZANU-PF-

FRIENDLY GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU AS ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE IN

THE VERY NEAR FUTURE. GUBBAY EVENTUALLY AGREED TO THE

APPOINTMENT OF AN ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE BECAUSE, AS THE

LAW STIPULATES, ALL CONSTITUTIONAL DECISIONS MUST BE

MADE UNANIMOUSLY BY THE FIVE-JUSTICE BENCH, AND

CHIDYAUSIKU CANNOT MAKE IMPORTANT RULINGS WITHOUT THE

CONSENT OF THE REMAINING FOUR INDEPENDENT JUSTICES.

FURTHERMORE, ALL APPEAL DECISIONS MUST BE MADE BY A

MINIMUM OF THREE JUSTICES, ACCORDING TO THE

CONSTITUTION. (COMMENT: ASSUMING AN ACTING CHIEF

JUSTICE IS PLACE, GUBBAY WILL NO LONGER HEAR JUDICIAL

CASES OR WEIGH IN ON RULINGS. END COMMENT.)

 

5. (C) AS AN ADDED ELEMENT OF DRAMA, SELF-STYLED FARM

OCCUPATIONS LEADER JOSEPH CHINOTIMBA PAID GUBBAY A VISIT

ON MARCH 1 AT THE LATTER’S SUPREME COURT OFFICES.

ACCORDING TO MAHLANGU, CHINOTIMBA SOMEHOW GOT PAST

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2297

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00918 02 OF 02 051504Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00 P-00

SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /011W

——————CDC0F3 051504Z /38

O 051501Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8353

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000918

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00918 02 OF 02 051504Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT AND CHIEF JUSTICE REACH NEW

AGREEMENT ON CHIEF JUSTICE’S DEPARTURE

 

SECURITY CHECKPOINTS AND ENTERED THE SUPREME COURT

BUILDING LOBBY. FROM AN INTERNAL PHONE, HE CALLED

GUBBAY AND DEMANDED THAT HE GIVE HIM THE KEYS TO HIS

OFFICIAL MERCEDES. GUBBAY REFUSED, AND CHINOTIMBA WAS

EVENTUALLY REMOVED FROM THE BUILDING WITHOUT INCIDENT.

WHEN THE CHIEF JUSTICE MENTIONED THIS INCIDENT TO

JUSTICE MINISTER CHINAMASA, THE MINISTER RESPONDED THAT

HE DID NOT HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER CHINOTIMBA AND THAT HE

MUST HAVE BEEN ACTING ON HIS OWN.

 

6. (C) COMMENT: THIS LAST MINUTE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE

GOZ AND CHIEF JUSTICE IS PROBABLY THE BEST THAT BOTH

COULD HAVE EXPECTED UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. GUBBAY

AVOIDS A NASTY CONFRONTATION AND POTENTIALLY BEING

THROWN OUT ON THE STREETS, AND THE GOZ AVOIDS AN EVEN

GREATER INTERNATIONAL UPROAR OVER ITS BRUTISH HANDLING

OF GUBBAY’S DEPARTURE. MORE LEGAL BATTLES COULD BE ON

THE HORIZON, HOWEVER, BECAUSE THE LANGUAGE OF THE

AGREEMENT IS NOT SPECIFIC ON “UNLAWFUL” GOVERNMENT

ACTIONS TOWARD THE JUDICIARY, AND THE CONSTITUTION IS

VERY BROAD ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF TRIBUNALS TO CONSIDER

THE REMOVAL OF JUSTICES. THE GOZ IS EAGER TO HAVE ITS

PROTEGE CHIDYAUSIKU BEGIN TURNING BACK THE LEGAL ACTIONS

THAT HAVE HINDERED ITS “FAST-TRACK” RESETTLEMENT

EXERCISE, AND IN ALL LIKELIHOOD WILL NOT LET A PIECE OF

PAPER SIGNED BY GUBBAY AND CHINAMASA STAND IN ITS WAY.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00918 02 OF 02 051504Z

END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(19 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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