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Court refuses to further remand the ERC case
June 11, 2013
A Harare magistrate
today refused to further remand a case in which the Election Resource
Centre was being charged with conducting
voter education without the approval of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC). The state had applied for deferment of the case
to the 17th of June 2013 after the state witness Mr. Chidhakuza
from ZEC failed to turn up for the court hearing. The magistrate
argued that it would be unfair to the accused to be further remanded
as the state had an obligation to put its house in order the minute
it decided to lay charges against the organization.
The state would
proceed by way of summons if it wishes.
The state holds
that the Election Resource Centre, represented by the Director Tawanda
Chimhini violated the Electoral Court (Section 40: Sub section 1g)
by distributing voter awareness material in the form of the t-shirts
and fliers during the first phase of the mobile voter registration
campaign, without approval from the ZEC. Three ERC personel, Moses
Chikora, Farai Saugweme and Wadzanai Nyakudya were arrested
in May as they conducted X1G mobile caravans. The caravans were
aimed at encouraging young people to register as voters.
lawyer, Mr. Tonderai Bhatasara of the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights had put before the court that the first
accused (Tawanda Chimhini) is a juristic person – Election
Resource Centre and requires the matter to be dealt with expeditiously
so that it is able to effectively carry out its mandate and objectives
relating to election observation and advisory. Mr. Bhatasara then
submitted that the matter should proceed.
The state then
appealed for more time to subpoena the State witness, and applied
to have the matter deferred to the 17th of June 2013, which the
Magistrate refused and ordered the state to proceed by way of summons.
Resource Centre remains committed to servicing the electoral needs
of Zimbabweans, including mobilizing youth to register as voters.
Visit the Election
Resource Centre fact
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