SOUTH Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere had all the reason to smile yesterday after the Constitutional Court (Concourt) upheld his dual citizenship bid and ordered Registrar -General Tobaiwa Mudede to issue him with a national registration certificate.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
In a landmark ruling delivered by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku backed by eight other judges, the court said section 36(1) of the new constitution recognized Mawere as Zimbabwean by birth.
The court added that denying him the right to obtain an identity document was in violation of his constitutional rights.
The order granted by the court reads in part: “It is declared that the 1st respondent’s (Registrar General) refusal or failure to issue the applicant (Mawere) with a national identity document upon application on May 27, 2013 was unlawful and in contravention of section 36(1) and applicant’s right to vote enshrined in section 67(3) (a) of the constitution of Zimbabwe. The 1st respondent is interdicted from demanding the applicant to first renounce his foreign-acquired citizenship before he can be issued with a national identity document.”
In his application, Mawere, who was represented by Advocate Fadzayi Mahere instructed by Philip Nyakutombwa, had cited Mudede, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), President Robert Mugabe and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana as respondents.
The Concourt also dealt with all the six matters that had been set down on a continuous roll.
Zimbabwe Development Party president Kisinoti Mukwazhe’s application seeking a $1,5m political funding by government was dismissed.
Mukwazhe had submitted that his political outfit was Zimbabwe-oriented and he wanted to avoid a situation where he would be forced to approach the “Taliban” for funding in the event that the government failed to support multiparty democracy.
Drawing laughter from the fully packed court, Mukwazhe said the denial by the government to fund his party was tantamount to “electoral legislative rigging”.
However, the court said the reasons for its decision would be passed in due course.
The other matters that were supposed to be heard including one for Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa seeking an extension of the July 31 election date were postponed sine die.
Chinamasa’s lawyer Fred Gijima had applied for the matter to be heard, but it later emerged there were counter applications that had not been responded to, prompting the court to order parties to agree on a best way forward.
It was also raised by the court that Mugabe was not represented in the proceedings and had not been cited in the applications when in fact he was part to the election date impasse.
The court, however ordered all the matters including one for Nixon Nyikadzino and Maria Phiri to heard together with Chinamasa’s matter.
Judgment in the matter of Tavengwa Bukaibenyu, who was seeking an extension of postal votes to include other Zimbabweans as opposed to government employees on national duty, was reserved.
Bukaibenyu was represented by Advocate David Ochieng while the Attorney-General’s office was represented by Tinei Dodo.