Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
PRESIDENT Mugabe acted in terms of the law when he promulgated Statutory Instrument 133 /16 that lays the basis for the introduction of bond notes and a challenge to that legal framework should be dismissed, the Harare High Court has heard.
Responding to a bond notes challenge by businessman Mr Frederick Mutanga, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa deposed an opposing affidavit on behalf of President Mugabe and the Attorney-General arguing the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act and its application by President Mugabe was constitutional.
Minister Chinamasa also stated that the SI in question was a valid law and that nothing should come into the RBZ’s way in its plans to release the bond notes into circulation.
“The first respondent (President Mugabe) has lawfully acted in terms of the Act and has not in any way acted outside the powers given to him in terms of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
“Section 2 of the Act permits first respondent to resort to the Act where a situation has arisen which needs to be dealt with urgently in the economic interest or the general public interest of Zimbabwe which cannot adequately be dealt with in terms of any other law,” reads the affidavit.
Minister Chinamasa said the economic situation in the country required an urgent solution and that following the ordinary law-making process in the circumstances was unhelpful.
“I submit that because of the urgency required to address the financial and economic situation in Zimbabwe, it was extremely necessary to resort to the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act so as to address the situation and it was not expedient to await the passage through Parliament of an Act dealing with the situation,” Minister Chinamasa said.
He also said the Act was in sync with the supreme law of the country.
“The Presidential Powers Act is not in any way unconstitutional. The new Constitution does not abolish the prerogative power of the President although it no longer mentions that power specifically.
“The prerogative power is indirectly mentioned in Section 110(1) of the Constitution. The resort to Presidential Powers is permissible in very few limited circumstances of emergency and whatever regulations are given under the Presidential Powers Act are temporary and subject to scrutiny and approval by Parliament and such cannot be said to be a violation of the separation of powers principle,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Mr Mutanda in his application wants an order declaring the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act unconstitutional. He also seeks the nullification of the SI for want of procedural compliance with Section 3 of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
Mr Mutanda wants the issuance of bond notes and coins in terms of SI 133/ 16 declared unconstitutional.
Yesterday, Judge President George Chiweshe deferred the hearing of the matter to Monday to allow the parties to file their heads of argument.
Mrs Fortune Chimbaru from the Attorney-General’s Office represented the President and Minister Chinamasa while Advocate Thabani Mpofu acted for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and its Governor Dr John Mangudya.
Adv Girach Firoz represented Mr Mutanda.