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ConCourt refuses to hear constituency boundaries case

by Staff reporter
20 Jan 2023 at 06:38hrs | Views
The Constitutional Court yesterday refused to hear on an urgent basis an application by a Harare man seeking to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to restart from scratch the delimitation of constituency  boundaries.

The ruling comes after Mr Tonderai Chidawu approached the court to order the restart and to invalidate processes that took place in Parliament since the preliminary delimitation report was tabled on January 6 for lack of compliance with the Constitution.

Parliament yesterday handed over to President Mnangagwa its report on the preliminary delimitation report produced by the electoral commission last month in line with provisions of the Constitution.

The parliamentary report was produced by an all-party ad-hoc committee established by Parliament to analyse the preliminary delimitation report and also contained submissions by legislators during debate. It was approved by the National Assembly and the Senate.

President Mnangagwa is today expected to hand over this report to ZEC to consider issues raised by Parliament as required by law.

Speaking to journalists after a chamber hearing yesterday, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, who is representing Mr Chidawu confirmed the court ruling.

"The Chief Justice (Luke Malaba) has ruled that the matter should proceed as an ordinary court application because at this stage it will be premature for the court to determine the matter," he said.

He said the application was meant to put Parliament on the spot for failure to fulfil its constitutional obligation.

Prof Madhuku said his client furnished Parliament with copies of documents alleging that the report which was submitted to be tabled in Parliament was not a report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission but by a portion of the ZEC, the chair and deputy chair, but Parliament went on to debate the report.

"That is the allegation and he (Chidawu) wants Parliament to investigate that but refused and proceeded to debate the report and they took their results to the President," he said.

"By failing to investigate my client is saying that it's a failure to fulfil the constitutional obligation to bring state institutions to account."

Prof Madhuku added that if the issue raised by his client was determined in his favour it would mean that all the processes that Parliament undertook and everything that followed would be null and void. Prof Madhuku said they were also calling ZEC to do a delimitation which involves all commissioners.

Mr Chidawu's application contained affidavits from two ZEC commissioners. He alleges that the preliminary report was not approved by seven of the nine ZEC commissioners hence should not have been sent to the President.

Parliament debated the draft delimitation report and yesterday handed its recommendations to President Mnangagwa for onward transmission to ZEC which will now have to produce a final delimitation report.

In terms of the Constitution, the delimitation of constituency boundaries must be done at least six months before the elections.

In the event that it is completed less than six months to an election, the delimitation report cannot be considered for that election but a future election.

Source - The Herald