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Court orders by-elections in 14 days
, 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
"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
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