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Court application update
Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
in which the NCA is seeking a court order for the President to give
Zimbabweans more time before the referendum was heard by the High
Court yesterday. It was heard in chambers as an urgent application.
The presiding judge was the Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe.
The President was represented by a team of lawyers led by Deputy
Attorney General Mr. Prince Machaya. The NCA was represented by
Mr. Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni from Mbidzo, Muchadehama
through his lawyers, raised a preliminary point challenging the
jurisdiction of the High Court. They argued that the President had
certain prerogatives which cannot be questioned by the courts. One
such prerogative is setting a date for a referendum. The President's
lawyers argued that the court had no powers to review the President's
decision of setting March 16 as the date of the referendum. On that
basis alone, they wanted the court to dismiss the NCA application.
They relied on a section on presidential
powers in the Constitution
of Zimbabwe. For the NCA, Mr. Muchadehama submitted that the High
Court had jurisdiction to review the decision of the President.
He argued that the section of the Constitution of Zimbabwe relied
on by the president's lawyers for their argument was not applicable
and that every exercise of power by the President was subject to
review by the courts.
The judge reserved
judgment on this preliminary point and promised to make his decision
on Wednesday, 27 February. It is that decision on Wednesday which
will determine whether or not the case proceeds to the merits. On
the merits, the NCA is seeking an order to set aside the March 16
date and for
the President to give Zimbabweans at least two months to study the
Constitution and make up their minds.
Visit the NCA
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