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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
by July 31
Fidelis Munyoro and Sifelani Tsiko, The Herald (Zimbabwe)
June 01, 2013
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The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe has ordered President Mugabe
election dates and have the crunch harmonised elections
held by July 31 this year. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku
made the ruling yesterday in a case in which a Harare man, Mr Jealousy
Mawarire, was seeking an order compelling the President to proclaim
the election date.
the first respondent be and is hereby ordered and directed to proclaim
as soon as possible a date (s) for the holding of Presidential elections,
general election and for elections for members of governing bodies
of local authorities in terms of section 58 (1) of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe which elections should take place by no later than 31
July 2013,” he said.
The nine-member panel
of judges comprised Chief Justice Chidyausiku, Deputy Chief Justice
Luke Malaba and Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Ann-Mary
Gowora, Ben Hlatshwayo, George Chiweshe, Antonia Guvava and Bharat
Seven judges concurred
with the ruling, but there were two dissenting opinions by Justice
Malaba and Justice Patel.
According to the ruling,
Chief Justice Chidyausiku said the President’s failure to
fix the date for the elections timeously makes it legally impossible
for the country to hold polls on June 29, 2013 when the Seventh
Parliament is dissolved.
“It is declared
that the failure by the first respondent (President Mugabe) to fix
and proclaim the dates for the harmonised general election to take
place by 29 June 2013 is a violation of the first respondent’s
constitutional duty towards the applicant to exercise his functions
as a public officer in accordance with the law and to observe and
uphold the rule of law in terms of section 18 (1a) of the Constitution,”
the Chief Justice said.
“It is further
declared that by failing to act as stated . . . the first respondent
has violated the applicant’s rights as a voter and his legitimate
expectation of protection of the law entrenched in section 18 (1)
of the Constitution.”
Mr Mawarire’s constitutional
case sought to compel the President to fix the election dates and
for the court to clear confusion over the holding of the harmonised
The Constitutional Court
ruling puts to rest confusion and wrangling among major political
parties over the interpretation of the law governing the holding
of elections after the dissolution of Parliament next month.
President Mugabe wanted
the elections held by June 29, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
had proposed September 16 as the ideal date on which Zimbabwe could
hold harmonised elections.
In determining the case,
the Constitutional Court examined various issues pertaining to elections
and the Constitution, debating rigorously whether the delay in announcing
the date of polls infringed voters’ rights, legitimate expectations
of the public as well as the threat of a perceived constitutional
In addition, there were
competing interpretations of constitutional provisions pertaining
to elections, dissolution of Parliament, proclamation of dates and
timing of elections, the tenure of office of the Executive, voter
rights among other key issues.
Although the judges gave
diverse and differing opinions, seven of them unanimously agreed
that elections be held by July 31, 2013 while others felt that President
Mugabe had four months to call for elections after June 29 and that
there was no breach and no reason for Mr Mawarire to bring such
an application before the court.
Last week, Sadc said
it was awaiting the announcement of the date for harmonised elections
and expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in overcoming
hurdles on electoral issues.
as Sadc is that the Constitution was concluded and the next step
is the election, whether it’s held within one month, two months,
three months or the next six months, it is up to those with the
powers to decide,” said Dr Tomaz Salamao, the bloc’s
executive secretary after Sadc member states held a meeting on the
sidelines of the African Union General Assembly session last week.
“We are waiting
to hear the ruling of the Supreme Court, and as Sadc we will be
there to support . . . We are basically waiting for the announcement
of the day of the election so that we move this process forward.”
Sadc leaders are set
to meet this month in Maputo, Mozambique, for a special summit on
Zimbabwe convened to co-ordinate efforts towards raising funds for
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