THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

High Court orders by-elections in 14 days
Brian Chitemba , The Independent (Zimbabwe)
October 13, 2011

The High Court in Bulawayo has ordered President Mugabe to call for by-elections in three vacant constituencies in Matabeleland within 14 days.

Justice Nicholas Ndou ordered Mugabe to proclaim by-election dates 14 days after being served with the judgment, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has pleaded bankruptcy.

"I hereby order that President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce elections dates in Lupane East, Nkayi South and Bulilima East in a period within 14 days," Ndou said in his ruling.

The three seats fell vacant after Welshman Ncube's MDC expelled Abdenico Bhebhe of Nkayi South, Njabuliso Mguni of Lupane East and Norman Mpofu of Bulilima East for aligning themselves with the MDC-T. Bhebhe is now the MDC-T deputy organising secretary.

The trio's lawyer Matshobana Ncube said he would send the judgment to Attorney-General Johannes Tomana's office on Friday after which they would wait for the by-election dates to be announced within 14 days.

"The by-election dates will be proclaimed after we serve Mugabe's lawyer, who is the Attorney-General, with the judgment," he said.

Ndou said the AG's office had earlier this year asked for two months before the by-elections because there was general talk of possible elections this year, and hence they would be overtaken by events.

But nothing happened and the two months the AG's office had asked for lapsed meaning Mugabe was in breach of Section 39 (2) of the Electoral Act which states that after being notified by the Speaker of Parliament about a vacant seat, he has to gazette by-election dates.

Ndou ruled that he was at liberty to make a ruling that Mugabe had to comply with Section 39 (2) of the Electoral Act so that he gazettes dates for the by-elections as sought by the three former legislators since the AG had not communicated after the expiry of the two months he had asked for.

ZEC chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe yesterday said although the High Court had ordered the by-elections, the electoral body was broke and could not finance any poll this year.

"There is no money for by-elections," said Mutambanengwe. "We know the former MPs have been going to court, but the issue is that even if the court orders elections (to be held), we simply don't have the money," he said.

Ever since the inception of the coalition government in 2009, 18 parliamentary seats have fallen vacant because of various reasons, which include death and expulsions.

Bhebhe and Mpofu were not in court. Mguni, who was present, hailed the outcome as a landmark ruling which would give the people of Lupane East, Nkayi South and Bulilima East a chance to elect their preferred representatives in parliament.

"Mugabe has to do what he has to do so that people go for by-elections," said Mguni. "We are more than ready to reclaim our seats in parliament, regardless of the fact that Welshman Ncube has tried to kill our political careers."

Mguni has since re-joined the MDC-T.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.