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Challenge against Zec presses on

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2023 at 16:31hrs | Views
WHILE Senate has approved the delimitation report, which is now before President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Harare voter Tonderai Chidawa, represented by Lovemore Madhuku, is pressing ahead with his challenge of the document he says is not a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission product (Zec).

Chidawa recently filed a Constitutional Court application seeking to have the controversial report declared null and void.

The matter was briefly heard before Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who ruled that the case will not be treated with urgency, but just as other ordinary cases on the roll.

Court action comes amid claims of torture by Chidawa, who has told court that he went through a harrowing experience at the hands of suspected state agents.

As he was at court, Mnangagwa was receiving Parliament's findings on the report.

In is ConCourt application, Chidawa says Zec did not produce the delimitation report as some commissioners dissociated themselves from it.
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He says the report is unconstitutional as it was only produced by Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba and her deputy Rodney Simukai Kiwa.

"I believe Parliament has failed to fulfill a constitutional obligation.

"This failure has arisen in respect of processes that have unfolded following the tabling in Parliament by the President of a preliminary delimitation report in terms of section 161(7) of the constitution.

"The tabling took place on 6 January 2023. The constitutional obligation that I believe Parliament has failed to fulfill is the obligation to protect the constitution and ensure that all state institutions act constitutionally and in the national interest," he said.

Parliament of Zimbabwe was cited as the respondent in the court papers.

Chidawa wants the delimitation exercise repeated.

He submitted that Parliament erred in failing to initiate investigations into how the report was compiled.

"It is my respectful belief that no reasonable person applying his or her mind to the document signed by seven out of nine members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would fail to conclude that there is a reasonably strong basis for the suspicion that the preliminary delimitation report tabled in Parliament and currently being debated is not an act of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as a body corporate [as required by the Constitution] but a report by one or two members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [and thus contrary to the Constitution]," reads his court application.

He said it was wrong for Parliament to refuse to investigate the report on grounds that the seven commissioners had not communicated with Parliament but with the President.

Chidawa's application is supported by affidavits of two Zec commissioners.

The citizen wanted his matter heard with urgency because if delayed, Zimbabwe would go into this year's elections using the old delimitation report.

He also talked about his attacks.

"I have acted with urgency. After receiving the response from Parliament, my legal practitioners prepared these papers as per my previous instructions but could not get me to sign them immediately as I had been detained by unknown state agents who were threatening me not to proceed with my court application.

"They tortured me and only released me after two days. It was only after that horrible incident that I managed to get in touch with my legal practitioners for signing of this affidavit," he said.

After the matter was removed from the urgent roll, Madhuku told journalists that the remaining option was to seek an interdict.

"In the meantime, because the matter is before the court, we are going to be seeking an interim relief. We will seek an interdict against the processes," he said.

The delimitation report has drawn massive controversy, with many dismissing it while a few called for its adoption.

On Tuesday, some parliamentarians noted the need for Zec to revisit its preliminary delimitation report based on findings and recommendations of the ad hoc committee that was set up to look into it.

During a debate on the Zec report on Tuesday, legislators put emphasis on the need to have a voters' roll or census report to tally figures and agreed the law was grossly violated by the electoral body.

MPs condemned Zec and felt Zimbabweans were short-changed by the exercise which will affect resource distribution in constituencies.

The ad how committee also said the report had a lot of irregularities.

Parliament of Zimbabwe was cited as the respondent in the court papers.

After the matter was removed from the urgent roll, Madhuku told journalists that the remaining option was to seek an interdict.

"In the meantime, because the matter is before the court, we are going to be seeking an interim relief. We will seek an interdict against the processes," he said.

Source - thenewshawks