Zimbabwe's high court has given former information minister
Jonathan Moyo a 12-day reprieve to vacate a government house
following his dismissal last month, his lawyer said
Wednesday. "He has been given up to March 14 to vacate,"
lawyer Johannes Tomana told AFP.
"We are happy though it's less than what we had asked
for. "We had asked for a month or three for him to vacate...
in fact he was initially told he had up to three months to
leave the house. The judge had to strike a balance so he has
granted him up to March 14."
Moyo who was about to be thrown out of the government house
in the plush Harare suburb of Gunhill on Sunday, filed an
urgent application in the high court late Tuesday for an
order to stop his immediate eviction. Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe dismissed Moyo, the architect of the country's
tough media laws, on February 19 following his decision to
register as an independent candidate for the country's
parliamentary elections on March 31 and said he would have to
give up all perks immediately.
But Moyo's lawyers argued that he had not been given a notice
period of three months to vacate the house. According to the
state-owned Herald newspaper, the government line was that
Moyo "did not have a lease agreement to warrant him to be
given three month's notice to leave the property."
Zimbabwe's ruling party barred Moyo from contesting in the
March 31 parliamentary elections as a candidate from the
western Tsholotsho constituency after he attended an
unsanctioned meeting which allegedly went against Mugabe's
directive for party leaders to nominate a woman as one of the
two vice-presidents. Moyo, 48, was then sacked. His dismissal
capped a nearly six-year meteoric rise for the former
academic, who went from being one of Mugabe's harshest
critics to his loudest cheerleader.
Moyo made his mark as the architect of the draconian Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act passed into law
in 2002, barring foreign journalists from working in Zimbabwe
for long periods and tightening controls on domestic media.
Four independent newspapers have been shut down and several
journalists arrested under the law framed ahead of a
parliamentary election in 2000 which the opposition and many
foreign observers charge was marred by fraud.
His argument for the tough media law was that it was
necessary to protect Zimbabwe from foreign journalists whom
he viewed as pawns of Western countries like Britain and the
United States which have harshly criticised the Mugabe