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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Crisis Report Issue 190
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    June 07, 2013

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    Constitutional Court Ruling “Robbed Peter to Pay Paul” – Analysts

    The ruling by the Constitutional Court that Zimbabwe must hold elections by July 31 respects the constitutional rights of an individual while taking rights of millions of citizens, argue analysts who spoke at a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) organized public meeting in Harare on Wednesday, June 5.

    Trust Maanda, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said:

    “The Constitutional Court ruling robbed Peter to pay Paul,” adding: “Mr. Mawarire was lucky to have his case even heard.”

    The ruling was made after Jealousy Mawarire, the Director of Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CDESA) filed a legal case compelling President Robert Mugabe to announce harmonized election date on the ostensible reason that his rights as a registered voter in Zaka were being violated by ignorance of the polling day.

    Analysts warn the ruling could infringe on the rights of millions of Zimbabweans who want time to be registered as voters and inspect the voter’s roll, and imperils prospects of a credible election apart from violating the new Constitution.

    “The new Constitution was infringed at its dawn.

    “The judgment by the Constitutional Court is impracticable and unconstitutional because it cannot be adhered to,” said Maanda.

    Maanda said there was no adequate time to carry out mobile voter registration for 30 days as required by the new Constitution which came into effect on May 22 when the President signed the new constitution into law.

    The time limitations were exacerbated by the fact that the new Constitution does not recognize Saturdays and Sundays as legal days, he added.

    Maanda cautioned Zimbabweans against embracing “a constitutional or legal dictatorship” which infringes the rights of citizens through the court system.

    “Section 67 sets out what are called political rights. The right hand is giving the right to vote while the left hand is taking your right to vote freely in a conducive environment.

    “It’s like you are told you have the right to be across the river but taking away the bridge,” he said.

    MDC-T Spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the party was not concerned with the date but the reforms required before the next harmonized election as set out in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

    Analysts like Maanda and Mr. Frank Chamunorwa of MDC led by Prof. Welshman Ncube argued that the date could be a source of problem by timing out such critical reforms before they are fully implemented.

    “What kind of people will we be if before the ink which wrote it has dried we violate the new constitution,” said Chamunorwa.

    Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) Director Pedzisai Ruhanya who is an academic and political analyst said:

    “From the constitutional court ruling, Zimbabwe is an authoritarian electoral state. An electoral authoritarian state is a state that holds elections as a ritual.”

    Paul Mangwana who is a Member of Parliament for Chivi Central on a Zanu-PF ticket defended the ruling:

    “It is the duty of every citizen of Zimbabwe to defend the ruling of the constitutional court. That is the rule of law, that you must respect all rulings of the courts.

    “So elections must be held before the 31st of July. Elections are not held because the conditions are conducive but they are held because time has come,” the legislator said.

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