Court defers hearing on MDC BVR challenge

HARARE - High Court judge Davison Foroma yesterday deferred to Thursday,  hearing of an application by the MDC seeking to nullify the proclaimed dates for voter registration, arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is unprepared for the process.

In the application, the MDC cited President Robert Mugabe and Zec as respondents.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the postponement to the Daily News yesterday after hearing of the matter in chambers.

Mwonzora said that the matter was postponed to Thursday to give Mugabe’s lawyers time to file a response to the application.

The application comes after Mugabe on September 8, through Proclamation No. 6 of 2017, declared that the voter registration process will commence on September 14, and end on January 15, next year.

The MDC has retained Rudo Magundani of Scanlen & Holderness to argue the case.

“On September 5, 2017, the second respondent (Zec) reported during a high level political platform involving the applicant (MDC)  and other political parties, that 400 electoral biometric kits for training purposes had been procured.

“It was expected that a further 2  600 kits would be procured for the actual new voter electoral  registration process countrywide.

“The kits work with servers which are used to store biometric data gathered in the registration  process. There would be district servers and a national server.

“From the second respondent’s own report that only 400 electoral biometric registration kits have been procured, it is evident that by and large there are no kits to commence registration. The servers have not been procured as yet,” Mwonzora said in an affidavit.

Mwonzora,  on the other hand, said that the procurement process for the servers requires a tender process, which would take at least 21 days to complete.

“There are concerns on the custody, location of servers, transmission of data from the polling station to the district  servers and the national server and access of political parties to inspect the servers before information is stored and audit information  stored on the servers.

“Clearly, the September 14, 2017  fixed as the date to commence new voter registration is highly-ambitious and unattainable,” Mwonzora said.

He further said that the training of personnel that would carry out the voter registration  process has not yet commenced, which he claimed confirmed Zec’s  unpreparedness.

Mwonzora also told the court that MDC has previously demanded from Zec information on the identity of the people that will be involved in the registration process.

“This is important as applicant along with other political parties has long registered its concern over the possible involvement of security and military personnel in the registration process,” he said.

He further said that the MDC has raised other concerns in relation to the process of new registration of voters which have not yet been addressed, adding that the period for  the process is also too short.

“The prescription of a date to close new voter registration creates a risk of disenfranchising voters who would have not been able to complete registration due to the time limits.

“Even more importantly, to the extent that the proclamation fixes a date limiting the latest day upon which claims and applications for registration shall have been received, it runs contrary to and inconsistent with Section 17A (1) of the parent Act that provides for  continuous voter registration process,” Mwonzora said.

He said  that there is no need to “jump the gun and order chaotic, premature  commencement of the registration process”, when the actual voting process is still 10 months away.

In the application, Mwonzora said that the entire election process is at stake and that as MDC, they stand to suffer irreparable harm if some of its supporters fail to register to vote.

“There is no alternative remedy other than prohibiting the second respondent  from commencing registration of voters in terms of the proclamation issued by the first respondent (Mugabe) and altogether setting aside of the said proclamation on the basis of its unconstitutional provisions,” he said.

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Comments (1)

mwonzora isu tato register tinosangana election day with or without court process and tikuzohwina zvinemutsimba

g40 - 19 September 2017

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