Court ruled Bennett was eligible for election


0

The Electoral Court overturned the Chimanimani nomination court’s refusal to certify Roy Bennett as a candidate for the Chimanimani seat in the 2005 elections and allowed him to run.

Bennett’s earlier disqualification hinged on his conviction by Parliament and sentencing to one year imprisonment for assaulting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in Parliament.

The Constitution disqualifies an individual convicted by a court and sentenced to more than six months imprisonment from serving in Parliament.

The Electoral Court ruled that Bennett was qualified to run despite his incarceration.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE428, ELECTORAL COURT HOLDS BENNETT ELIGIBLE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

05HARARE428

2005-03-16 15:19

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000428

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI MDC

SUBJECT: ELECTORAL COURT HOLDS BENNETT ELIGIBLE

 

REF: (A) 04 HARARE 1943 (B) 04 HARARE 1787 (C) 04

HARARE 682

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires a.i. Eric T. Schultz under Section 1.4

b/d

 

1. (U) In its first decision since it was appointed last

month, Zimbabwe’s Electoral Court announced March 15 that MDC

MP Roy Bennett will be permitted to run for his Chimanimani

seat. Electoral Court Judge Tendai Uchena overturned the

Chimanimani nomination court’s refusal on February 18 to

certify Bennett as a candidate. Bennett’s earlier

disqualification hinged on his “conviction” by Parliament and

sentencing to one year imprisonment over his assault of

Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick

Chinamasa on the floor of Parliament last year (refs A and B).

 

2. (U) The Constitution disqualifies an individual convicted

by a court and sentenced to more than six months imprisonment

from serving in Parliament. However, the Electoral Court

ruled that Bennett, who was convicted by Parliament and not a

court, remained qualified to run despite his continuing

incarceration. The Court ordered that the nomination court

be reconvened on April 4 to consider papers of candidates,

with polling to be postponed from March 31 to April 30.

 

3. (C) One of Bennett’s lawyers told us that he had been

told by opposing counsel that an appeal was unlikely.

Bennett’s lawyer noted that the three-judge Electoral Court

sitting en banque – not the ZANU-PF-dominated Supreme Court –

would hear an appeal if one were filed.

 

——–

Comment

——–

 

4. (C) The Court’s first decision is as surprising as it is

encouraging. Many local observers did not expect it to buck

the GOZ at all, let alone in its first decision. Moreover,

removing Bennett – a white commercial farmer who is very

popular in a rural constituency the ruling party considers

part of its heartland – has been a high ZANU-PF priority and

the decision is sure to infuriate the party leadership.

Whether the ruling party has another trick up its sleeve to

exclude Bennett remains to be seen. The Court also acted

with unusual dispatch. Bennett filed the case shortly after

the adverse February 18 ruling and the Court took less than

three weeks to reach a decision.   This is in marked contrast

to the electoral disputes from the 2000 election, many of

which have yet to be concluded five years later. The Court’s

ability to continue this sort of activism may be limited by

its lack of a budget or supporting secretariat. That said,

it apparently will not be limited by a lack of political will

— a most welcome development.

SCHULTZ

 

(30 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *