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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Con Court dismisses Diaspora vote challenge
    Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa

    June 28, 2013

    The Constitutional Court on Friday dismissed a legal challenge that was trying to secure the voting rights of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, in a decision that is set to have a serious impact on millions of citizens around the world.

    The challenge had been filed last year by a South African based Zimbabwean, Tawengwa Bukaibenyu, who argued that the barring of postal ballots for exiled Zimbabweans violated his right to choose his country’s government.

    Bukaibenyu was arguing that the lack of a Diaspora vote was inherently unfair, because he does intend on returning to Zimbabwe one day when the situation normalises.

    He wanted the country’s electoral laws that prohibit the Diaspora vote to be declared unconstitutional, saying: “I therefore have a vested interest to do my part to ensure that the situation in Zimbabwe normalises as soon as possible, and this includes participation in elections and civic duties in Zimbabwe.”

    But on Friday the Constitutional Court bench unanimously dismissed his application. The Court did not give reasons for the decision, saying this would be communicated in due course.

    The decision is a serious blow to millions in the Diaspora, who are all being denied their right to cast their votes.

    But the decision could also have serious legal ramifications for Zimbabwe, which stands on the verge of being declared in contempt of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

    The Commission in February ordered the Zim government to make provisions for exiled Zimbabweans to cast their votes using the postal voting system. This was ahead of the March referendum, but the government has still not responded to this order.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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