Con-Court shelves election hearing

UNCERTAINTY shrouds forthcoming elections after the Constitutional Court yesterday shelved indefinitely hearing an application by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to postpone the election by two weeks from July 31.

Chinamasa filed the application following a directive by southern African leaders who met at an extraordinary summit held in Maputo, Mozambique on June 15.

This was after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube approached the regional bloc for intervention following President Robert Mugabe’s unilateral proclamation of July 31 as the polling day.

Mugabe was acting on a Constitutional Court order, but Sadc directed him to go back to the court for a variation of the date noting that it would be impossible to have elections by July 31.

However, following the application, Tsvangirai and Ncube said Chinamasa’s application was weak and was filed without due consultations.

They filed separate counter applications. Their lawyers Lewis Uriri and Thabani Mpofu tabled requests to have their counter applications consolidated with Chinamasa’s application.

Fred Gijima, Chinamasa’s lawyer, said he needed more time to get instructions pertaining to the new development, since he received the counter application late.

He said the counter applications were deliberately meant to confuse proceedings.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku then postponed the matter indefinitely and asked the lawyers to agree on a date when the matter can possibly be heard.

A similar application by Nixon Nyikadzino, in which the activist is also seeking an extension of the election date, was postponed indefinitely, with a view to combine it with Chinamasa’s application.

Chinamasa and Nyikadzino’s applications were part of six requests that were heard by the Constitutional Court yesterday, based on the election date proclamation.

In another case heard yesterday, the Constitutional Court upheld South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere’s dual citizenship application.

Mawere took the Registrar of Voters Tobaiwa Mudede to the Con-Court after he was refused a national identity card because he held a South African citizenship, acquired in 2002.

His lawyer Fadzai Mahere said her client was entitled to a Zimbabwean citizenship, considering that he was born in this country and the new Constitution allowed dual citizenship.

Ruling was reserved in another matter in which a South Africa-based man Tavengwa Bukaibenyu is lobbying for several Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to vote in the forthcoming watershed elections using the postal ballot system.

Bukaibenyu, through his lawyer David Ochieng said government should put in place measures that would ensure that people living in the diaspora are allowed to vote, since it is their right to do so as Zimbabwean citizens.

However, Dodo from the Attorney General’s office said Bukaibenyu’s request was impossible because the country does not have money to cater for the process.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Development Party president Kisinoti Mukwazhe’s application for funding for his party was dismissed by the court yesterday. Chidyausiku said reasons for the dismissal would be delivered in due course.

Mukwazhe had filed an application seeking financial assistance from government to fund his political party’s activities, arguing that it is his right and promotes multi-party democracy.

Mukwazhe, who claimed his party has about 780 000 followers, argued political funding would prevent them from approaching “Talibans” for financial assistance.

Dodo from the AG said it would be “irresponsible and dangerous if all political parties will be open to funding”.

He said this would result in a flood of political parties in a bid to get funding and in the process fleece the government.

The Constitutional Court also shelved indefinitely the case of a Bulawayo woman Maria Phiri, who was seeking an extension of election dates to be able to vote in the forthcoming elections.

Phiri — who until the new Constitution was regarded an alien and unable to vote — told the court that former aliens needed more time to acquire identity cards in order to register as voters.

However, it emerged in court yesterday that Phiri has since been registered as a voter but his lawyer Thabani Mpofu persisted with her demand for the extension of the election dates.

Chidyausiku said these were new facts that were being brought by Mpofu, departing from the original request, which all parties cited in the application had agreed to be granted by consent.

He said Mpofu’s actions were tantamount to ambushing the court, and was “unbecoming of a legal practitioner”.

Mpofu said he needed to get more instructions from Phiri on the way forward.

Comments (5)

elections in September please. There is too much confusion especially from ZANUPF.

mabhunu muchapera - 28 June 2013

elections in September please. There is too much confusion especially from ZANUPF.

mabhunu muchapera - 28 June 2013

elections in September please. There is too much confusion especially from ZANUPF.

mabhunu muchapera - 28 June 2013

this website is to plain, please re-brand

troy - 28 June 2013

Where are we going from here?

ZIMUTO - 28 June 2013

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