Sugar farmers blocked from holding elections

BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA

MEMBERS of the Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association (ZSDA last week approached Chiredzi Magistrates’ Courts and successfully stopped the association, led by former police boss Edmore Veterai, from holding elections without a proper voters’ roll and caused its accounts to be frozen.

Elisha Tamirepi, one of the five applicants, argued that Veterai lacked locus standi to represent the association since his term of office expired on August 17, 2016. In his submissions, Tamirepi accused Veterai of taking the association’s computers to his place of business and closed the official office.

Part of Tamirepi’s submissions read: “To make matters worse, that illegal chairperson had taken the organisation’s computers to his personal place of business and closed the official place of business along Euphorbia Road. This kind of abuse is the worst in a democratic society.

“I aver that the voters’ roll was not available at the closed offices. The members were asking for the voters’ roll to make copies at their cost.”

However, in his opposing affidavit, Veterai through his lawyer Ross Chavi of Chavi Legal Firm, argued that his term of office should be five years instead of three as argued by the applicants.

Tamirepi, however, through his lawyer Wellington Muzenda of Muzenda and Chitsama Attorneys, insisted that three years was the legal term according to the association’s constitution. He further stated that even if the term of office was stretched to five years, the executive remained illegal since they were voted into office on August 13, 2013.

“Both constitutional and unconstitutional terms have expired and Veterai and his team no longer have the mandate to act for the first respondent (ZDSA). The elections are supposed to conducted by the convener in terms of the constitution particularly section 8 (a).

“I aver that the prospective voters whose names may have been skipped will be robbed of their right under the constitution to vote. If the elections go on, their right to vote and determine the future of an entity to which they are members will have been unconstitutionally taken away for the next three years,” Tamirepi added.

Veterai finally gave in and the magistrate, Rodgers Mawarire, postponed the matter to March 20 to allow the signing of the deed of settlement between the two parties.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Commercial Sugarcane Farmers Association’s dispute pitting Edmore Hwarare and Chiredzi North MP Roy Bhila was recently decided by the courts, with Hwarare finally prevailing as disputes to control the lucrative association continued to spill into the courts.

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