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Date set for delimitation court case

by Staff reporter
16 Feb 2023 at 04:54hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) delimitation report, likely to be gazetted tomorrow, faces a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) challenge, which will be heard on March 26.

This follows a ConCourt application filed by a Zanu-PF activist to challenge the constitutionality of a draft document which was recently submitted to Parliament by Zec.

The outcome of the application, which will be heard by a full bench of seven judges, will determine whether or not this year's elections will be held using the new boundaries or the 2018 guidelines.

Zanu-PF activist Tonderai Chidawa, who is represented by constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, argues that the report violated the Constitution after seven out of the nine Zec commissioners refused to endorse the document that was already before Parliament.

Parliament is also cited as the respondent in the application.

Chidawa alleges that the delimitation report falls short of the constitutional prescriptions that such a report must be an act of Zec, not individuals.

This was after seven Zec commissioners wrote to Mnangagwa rejecting the delimitation report that was signed by Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and her deputy Rodney Simukai Kiwa.

On February 3, Zec submitted its final report to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to gazette it tomorrow amid contradicting statements from his officials in his office about the status of the report.

On Tuesday, the ConCourt wrote to Chidawa notifying him to submit his heads of arguments.

"I have to inform you that the court application(s) in the above matter was/were filed in this court on Friday, the 13th day of January 2023," the ConCourt registrar wrote.

"I have to inform you that you have been requested to file heads of arguments. I now call upon you to file heads of argument within business days from the date of service of this letter. Please note that if you fail to comply with the above, the matter will be set down for hearing.

"Take notice that the above failure to fulfil a constitutional obligation Rule 27 will be heard and determined by the constitutional Court of Zimbabwe at Harare on Wednesday, the 29th day of March 2023 at 09:30 or so soon thereafter as counsel may be heard."

Parliament and other stakeholders have already described the Zec delimitation report as flawed.

Meanwhile, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday refused to take questions from legislators on the delimitation report.

This was after Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya (CCC) demanded to know when it would be gazetted.

"We have seen contradictory statements from government spokespersons.  The minister must confirm at which stage the delimitation report will be gazetted," Chikwinya said.

Ziyambi said he could not respond to the question as Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda had made a ruling on it.

But Chikwinya said Mudenda had no mandate to speak on behalf of the Justice minister.

Last week, Mudenda told legislators to desist from listening to social media lies about the delimitation report.

"Section 161 is very clear in terms of the processes.  The report is tabled in Parliament, we scrutinise it and make our observations.  We then submit to the Head of State, and in the specified 14 days, the Head of State must submit to Zec and they consider views of relevant stakeholders.  They look at them and make adjustments and hand the report to the President.  Within 14 days, the President must gazette.  What Zec has said and done in that report is final.  It does not matter, you must follow the Constitution," Mudenda said.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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