HomeLocal NewsPoll saga takes new twist

Poll saga takes new twist


A BULAWAYO woman has filed a Supreme Court application seeking to overturn a Constitutional Court ruling to have polls held before July 31, setting stage for yet another bruising battle over the proclamation of an election date.

Report by John Nyashanu

Maria Phiri (53) argues that proclamation of the nomination date and polling date must allow for the 30-day intensive voter registration period, which ends on July 10.

Phiri — who until the new Constitution was regarded an alien and unable to vote — also argues that former aliens have to acquire identity cards first and therefore cannot be able to immediately  benefit in the 30-day voter registration exercise, which began yesterday.

As such, she argues, polls could only be held after August 12.

Her application, filed on Friday last week, cites President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister  Arthur Mutambara,MDC leader Welshman Ncube, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and the executive director of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa, Jealousy Mawarire — who won last month’s Constitutional Court ruling ordering the President to hold elections by July 31 — as respondents.

“I wish to make use of this 30-day period of intensive voter registration to procure a new identity document (ID) and register as a voter. I am advised that I have a right to register as a voter during that 30-day registration period,” Phiri said in her heads of argument.

“ . . . that nomination day cannot take place before the 12th day of July 2013. By adding a thirty day-period to that date, it is apparent that the elections cannot lawfully take place before the 12th day of August 2013 without circumscribing certain of the periods referred to above.

“However, if the first respondent (Mugabe) is required to proclaim an election date, which election must take place on or before the 31st day of July 2013, I will not be afforded the opportunity to register within the 30-day period of intensive voter registration as is my right,” Phiri argues.

Political parties — namely MDC-T, MDC, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, Zapu and Zanu Ndonga — last week ganged up against the apparent intention of Zanu PF to go to the polls without reforms. They plan to take their grievance to a Sadc special summit on Zimbabwe that is expected soon.

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