HARARE – A number of lawyers, who have reportedly refused to represent a quest by liberation war pioneers and veterans to sue Zanu PF over its damp squib and “unconstitutional” congress last year, say they are actually ready to take up the case.
This comes as the State media has relentlessly sought to vilify former attorney-general Sobusa Gula-Ndebele and lawyer Addington Chinake for alleged involvement in the contest against many of President Robert Mugabe’s acolytes.
Lewis Uriri, a renowned advocate and one of the lawyers allegedly approached by the two senior counsels to argue the case in court, said he would represent the group if approached.
The threat to sue Zanu PF was issued by the group in a damning statement signed by the party’s former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa who insists he has not been removed from his post.
“I am a lawyer (and) not a politician,” Uriri said.
“I operate within certain professional and ethical norms, and parameters. Assuming that I was approached, which I cannot deny or confirm, I would not… discuss a client’s case without his consent.”
While Uriri said he had never met Mutasa before, he emphasised that he had taken an oath to “represent all manner of people without fear or favour”.
“The duty of a lawyer is to take instructions from clients and act if there is no conflict. Your question seems to suggest that it is wrong to represent Mutasa and the group.
“I see nothing wrong in representing him or anyone for that matter,” he said.
In a series of articles since January 16, the State media has not only sought to give an impression “no one was willing to touch the lawsuit because it was long on politics than the law”, but out rightly engage in scare-mongering and suggest that Uriri, and others had broken the attorney-client privilege.
Fortune Chasi, another lawyer who was allegedly approached by the ex-Zanu PF bigwig, also poured cold water on suggestions that the group was finding it hard to secure a lawyer.
“I think this is some form of mischief aimed at allocating lawyers who they can represent or not.
“As a lawyer, I represent anyone and that includes murderers,” the former deputy Justice minister said, emphasising, though, that he had not been approached to handle the case.
Chasi not only indicated that he was “still furnishing his Advocates’ Chambers offices”, but it would be difficult for him to take up any cases with such high “conflict of interest” since he was one of the recently fired ministers.
Yesterday, Mutasa railed at his detractors for claiming he was failing to get a lawyer and dismissing it as “mere propaganda aimed at dampening their spirits”.
“Vanonyepa, hapana zvakadaro, vanorambirei (There is no reason for them to snub us), a case is a case what is required is legal evidence and there is plenty of that,” he said.