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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Judge refuses to hear NCA High Court application
    National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
    February 28, 2013

    The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) wishes to dismiss with contempt today’s ruling by Judge President George Chiweshe, dismissing the NCA urgent application seeking an extension of the referendum date without even assessing the merits of the case.

    Part of Chiweshe’s ruling today reads…. ‘’These provisions are clear and unambiguous. I am convinced that the powers given to the first respondent [President] by section 3 of the Referendums Act, being wide, discretionary and unfettered, fall into the category of those powers under section 31, wherein the first respondent [President] is required to act on his own deliberate judgement. That being the case, I conclude that the content of the first respondent [President], in setting the date of the referendum and the time within which voters may cast their vote, is not subject to review by a court.’’

    In a landmark ruling which is akin to the justice delivery system of 18th century monarchs, what the Judge President is implying is that no court in Zimbabwe can question the president over anything that he does or declares.

    The NCA is dismayed and disgusted at this wanton abuse of the courts by the Judge President, himself infamous for presiding over the ZEC which in 2008 withheld election results for a record 5 weeks.

    The Judge President did not even seek to hear the merits or demerits of the NCA case, choosing instead to protect the president, a public servant from scrutiny from members of the public on his actions which affect the same public.

    What the Judge President confirms in his ruling is the fact that an executive residency is not good for this country and ideally confirms the NCA's position that the executive presidency provided for in Section 89 of the Copac draft constitution is an affront to democracy as it confers unfettered God-like powers on a human being.

    The precedence being set by this scandalous judgement is that a sitting president cannot be questioned on any issue whatsoever, for as long as they are acting in their capacity as president. He is above the law, and all other citizens and institutions of the state, including courts.

    More specifically, it confirms the assertion that the executive presidency being advocated for by the three political parties in government is meant to perpetuate the current political set-up.

    What it means therefore is that such a sitting president is not subject to scrutiny by the electoral courts that will seek to hear electoral disputes during the coming elections.

    The NCA will be lodging an appeal on this judgement with the Supreme Court. Today’s ruling has strengthened our resolve to continue our fight for a genuine people driven constitution.

    The Take Charge: No Vote campaign is in full swing and we still urge the people of Zimbabwe to reject this bad constitution that is being imposed upon us.

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