Election date to be decided tomorrow

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s application to the Constitutional Court to postpone elections from 31 July to 14 August will be heard tomorrow and is listed as the first case most likely to be heard.

According to a list of cases released by Veritas, five more cases should be heard by the court.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday applied to the Constitutional Court to have the election date postponed beyond 14 August to allow reforms and his lawyers are reported to have asked the court today to hear this case together with Chinamasa’s tomorrow.

Though Veritas said the order of the cases might be changed, a glance at the other cases shows that all the other cases could be easily dealt with after ruling on the election date as they are all to do with the coming elections.

While the MDC is calling for a longer postponement, any postponement, to whatever date, would in fact seem to work in favour of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front as it is the one whose house does not seem in order.

ZANU-PF has not yet held its primary elections, according to latest reports, but the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai has completed its.

In fact, despite its protestations, which one observer said were aimed at the international community, the MDC-T is more prepared for the elections than ZANU-PF.

Other cases lined up for the Constitution court are:

  • Mutumwa Dziva Mawere v Registrar-General and 3 Others– Mawere, born in Zimbabwe but a South African citizen by registration, seeks a declaration that the new Constitution automatically makes him a Zimbabwean citizen by birth without his first having to go through a prior “restoration of citizenship” process and vetting by Immigration as insisted on by the Registrar-General.
  • Tavengwa Bukaibenyu v Chairperson, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and 3 Others -Bukaibenyu, who says he is be a registered voter in Mabvuku, but currently based in South Africa, wants the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional sections of the Electoral Act that deny foreign-based Zimbabweans the vote. He wants an order allowing all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to participate in the election by postal voting, as some diplomats and Government officials based in foreign countries are able to do.
  • Zimbabwe Development Party v Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs & 3 Others – This small party, denied financing under the current Political Parties Finance Act, challenges the constitutionality of the Act vis-à-vis the new Constitution, and is wants an order entitling the party to $1.5 million.
  • Nixon Nyikadzino v President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and 12 Others- Nixon Nyikadzino in his capacity as a registered voter also wants an extension of the election date, complaining that elections cannot be held as early as 31st July without infringing his constitutional right to a free and fair election. He says that this date does not leave enough time to complete all the processes required for elections to be held by in a constitutional manner.
  • Maria Phiri v The President and 5 Others – Phiri’s case highlights the plight of the persons, formerly wrongly classified as “aliens” but confirmed as citizens by the new Constitution. She, too, seeks an extension of the election date to allow people in this category more time to complete the relevant formalities, which require them to first acquiring “citizen” ID cards and only after that to register as voters for the purposes of the coming election.



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