Diasporans denied voting rights

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Mbare turnout

THE Constitutional Court yesterday barred thousands of Diaspora-based Zimbabweans from participating in the forthcoming harmonised elections after it dismissed South Africa-based Tavengwa Bukaibenyu’s test case.

CHARLES LAITON

Bukaibenyu had approached the court seeking to have Zimbabweans based in the Diaspora be allowed to vote through the postal vote system normally reserved for government officials on duty in foreign countries.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said reasons for the court’s decision will be given later.

The court also dismissed an application by presidential aspirant and leader of newly-formed Good Peoples Movement, Dr Gadzamoyo Dewa who wanted the nomination court deferred to allow his party enough time to campaign. Dewa said his party was formed in April this year and had not had ample time to field candidates in all the constituencies after being denied nomination papers by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

In another development, the same court upheld an application by suspended Mutare mayor Brian James to be allowed to file his nomination papers for re-election.

The Concourt also noted that James’s suspension over allegations of abuse of office by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was in violation of the latter’s constitutional rights.

This, the court said, was as a result of Chombo’s failure to convene an enquiry into James’s suspension within the 45 days stipulated by the Urban Councils Act.

In his judgement Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said; “It is declared that the applicant (James) is not disqualified from standing as a candidate as a councillor in the forthcoming municipal elections.”

The court, however, said if the council felt it still had issues with James in the event that he would be retained as a councillor, it had an option to extend his suspension in accordance with the law.