Residents challenge bid to stop by-elections

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

TWO Harare residents have jointly challenged a Constitutional Court application by opposition MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora’s legal adviser Tapera Sengweni, who is seeking to stop the holding of by-elections scheduled for March 26.

Fadzai Matimba and Peter Mikondo from Harare West constituency argued that Sengweni’s application was defective.

Sengweni argued that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) breached provisions of the Constitution after they failed to proclaim the polls within the stipulated 90-day period.

Matimba and Mikondo argued that suspending the polls would deny them the right to council and parliamentary representation.

“Following the recall of our elected representatives, we were entitled to have by-elections to fill in these vacancies within 90 days as required by the Constitution. This did not happen,” they submitted.

“The running of the 90-day period in question was interrupted by the proclamation of the Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No 4). (Statutory Instrument  225A/20). This Statutory Instrument was subjected to a legal challenge in the High Court and judgment was reserved.

“As we awaited judgment in that matter, Zec issued a proclamation that is now subject to the challenge in the matter that we seek to be joined as parties in. The proclamation being impugned by Sengweni, (Vinnah) Mbele, (Adfy) Vushoma and (Fanuel) Tsvanhu enables us to enjoy the rights. It is in this respect that we seek to be joined as parties to this matter for the purposes of asserting our rights aforementioned.”

“Should we be joined as parties in their matter we will pray for the dismissal of the application on the basis that the application is defective. The application is further defective in that it does not seek to impugn the provisions of Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No 4). (SI 225A/20) which suspended the running of the 90 day period in which the by-elections ought to have been held.”

Mikondo and Matimba are represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

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