THE Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear an urgent appeal by three former MPs who want President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to call for by-elections in their Matabeleland constituencies in line with a High Court ruling.
REPORT BY SILAS NKALA
Judge President Justice George Chiweshe excused Mugabe from calling for by-elections in Nkayi South, Bululima East and Lupane East by March 31 as ordered by the High Court last year.
The constituencies became vacant after former MPs Abedinico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu were expelled from the MDC for working with the MDC-T.
Mugabe, in an application to be excused from complying with the High Court order, argued that it would not make economic sense to hold the by-elections now when he was obliged to call for harmonised elections by June 29.
But in another twist in the battle to set new election dates this year, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku approved the MPs’ application foran urgent appeal at the Supreme Court.
He ordered the Registrar of the High Court to prepare the record on the by-elections and transmit it to the Supreme Court so that the case could be heard on an urgent basis.
“Within five days of the receipt by the Registrar of this court of the record prepared as contemplated by clause 1 (1) above, appellants shall file their heads of arguments in support of the appeal,” Justice Chidyausiku said in his order.
Tawanda Zhuwarara, the lawyer representing the MPs, yesterday said he was “ecstatic” following the order by the Supreme Court.
“Our case was so strong that we did not need to have oral arguments,” he wrote on the social network site Twitter.
Zanu PF officials have used Justice Chiweshe’s ruling to justify Mugabe’s push for hamornised elections by June 29 when the life of the current Parliament expires.
Mugabe’s coalition government partners insist the country needs more time before holding the harmonised elections so that outstanding reforms could be implemented.