ZIMBABWEANS living in the Diaspora, who are keen to participate in this year’s electoral process, will have to wait a little longer to hear their fate after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday postponed ruling on the matter to March 14 this year.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The postponement of the matter came about when ConCourt judge Justice Paddington Garwe, in concurrence with Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, who was leading the full bench, declined to proceed with the case after raising issues over the manner in which the court record had been compiled.
Justice Garwe told the Diasporans’ lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, that his court record had not been bound and paginated properly in compliance with the court rules.
In the application, the Diasporans are challenging some restrictive provisions of the Electoral Act which preclude them from participating in the country’s electoral processes.
Gabriel Shumba, Sibonile Mfumisi and Darlington Nyambiya approached the ConCourt seeking an order compelling the Justice minister and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, among other respondents, to facilitate the amendment of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) and put appropriate measures to enable Zimbabweans living and working abroad to participate in the voting process.
It is the applicants’ argument that the residents’ requirements imposed under the Electoral Act are unconstitutional and that the new Constitution, which provides for political rights, allows for every citizen of Zimbabwe to participate in political processes regardless of their location and thus want some of the restrictive provisions of the Act to be struck off the country’s statutes.
The trio is being represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.