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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Crisis Report Issue 197
in Zimbabwe Coalition
July 05, 2013
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Mugabe not off the hook’, Civil society says
Court of Zimbabwe in Harare on Thursday, July 4, unanimously maintained
in Jealous Mbizvo Mawarire vs. The President and others that the
elections should be held on the 31st of July, 2013. Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) says defaulters of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) are not yet off the hook.
The nine judges
sitting as a constitutional court dismissed the urgent cases for
postponement to implement pending reforms brought by five applicants.
Reasons of the constitutional court ruling are yet to be given and
there was no mention of pending reforms by the Con-court bench.
the Crisis Report on whether the ruling by the Constitutional Court
meant that President Robert Mugabe was off the hook in terms of
the political reforms recommended at the SADC Summit in Maputo,
CiZC Regional Advocacy and Information coordinator, Joy Mabenge,
not because the message from SADC was quite clear that we must implement
reforms before the elections, so if they go off the hook and we
go for elections it is a disputed election and it means we are in
an election mood for quite some time. In fact, this is not going
to logically conclude the Global Political Agreement. So President
Mugabe is not off the hook yet, in fact what the Supreme Court has
done flies in the face of the mediation process that has been done
by SADC and by extension by the AU. I don’t think it is Zimbabwe’s
intention to isolate itself from the AU and SADC. In fact, it will
be suicidal for anyone to attempt to do that,” said Mabenge.
anticipated ruling before a full house at the Supreme Court around
5pm on Thursday, July 4, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said:
should be, and are hereby dismissed without order of costs. For
the avoidance of doubt elections will proceed on the 31st of July
2013 in terms of the proclamation by the President of Zimbabwe in
compliance with the order issued by this court as CCZ1/2013. Reasons
are to follow.”
The court on
May 31 ruled in favour of Jealous Mawarire of the low profile, little
known and inactive Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern
Africa (CEDSA), “obligating” President Robert Mugabe
to proclaim date for
elections to be held by July 31.
Mugabe invoked the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to amend the Electoral
Act and proclaim elections for July 31 as gazetted through Statutory
Instruments 85 of 2013 and 86 of 2013, the court was approached
by five applicants who called for nullification of the date on reasons
that it brewed a sham election, leading to joint hearing on Thursday,
Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa in his affidavit said he
agreed with the date though he had been “whipped” by
SADC, following a Summit of the bloc in the coastal Mozambican capital
Maputo on June 15 which urged the parties to the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) as government, to approach the court for an extension
to implement reforms necessary for credible, free and fair elections.
SADC had prior
to the Summit been pressured by a coalition of five main opposition
parties, MDC-T, MDC-N, Mavambo/Khusile/Dawn, ZAPU and Zanu-Ndonga,
and Zimbabwe and international civil society organizations who wrote
petitions urging the bloc to guarantee “free, fair and credible
elections in Zimbabwe”.
organizations maintained soon after the Summit and at the Launch
of the “Feya Feya” Campaign on Thursday, June 27 in
Bulawayo their standpoint of principle, saying the issue was not
about the date of the election but the pending critical reforms.
hate speech partisan reporting and security sector bias towards
Zanu-PF were some of the concerns raised by civil society organizations
which they said were against the Constitution, SADC Principles and
guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and African Charter on
democracy, elections and governance.
Morgan Tsvangirai and Minister of Industry and Commerce, Prof. Welshman
Ncube, represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri and Advocate Thabani
Mpofu respectively tried to persuade the Constitutional Court that
the move to amend the Electoral Act, and proclamation of elections
by President Mugabe without consulting other principals as provided
for by the GPA which stipulates that executive powers are shared
Nixon Nyikadzino and Maria Phiri who had also filed for extension
complained that the July 31 date infringed on their basic rights.
court upheld its earlier ruling, meaning the July date stands.
Chidyausiku said the reasons for the ruling will follow, keeping
the applicants guessing. The bench also re-fused to hear Prime Minister
Tsvangirai’s lawyer Uriri’s argument that the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act was unconstitutional.
the court pronounce whether the laws made by decree were not illegal.
Chidyausiku maintained elections should have been held by June 29,
calling that omission “the mother of all illegalities”.
the court to uphold the Presidential decree of June 13, Mawarire’s
lawyer said the court could not pay attention to a “club of
politicians” in reference to SADC, purporting that it could
open floodgates to decisions of a similar nature in the future from
the AU, or UN.
Uriri said there
was nothing sinister about the PM seeking sup-port from SADC as
his authority and that of the President were in terms of an agreement
brokered and guaranteed by SADC, which Zimbabwe was supposed to
honour as a party to the SADC treaty.
Attorney General and Zimbabwe Elections Commission (ZEC) who had
been cited as the fifth and sixth respondents promised to abide
by the ruling of the constitutional court, claiming they were neutral.
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