Back to Index
sets date for ruling on ERC’s application as Chikomo’s
trial suffers yet another false start
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
October 28, 2013
Tendai Mahwe will on Friday 1 November 2013 deliver his ruling on
an application in which the Election
Resource Centre (ERC) wants its matter to be referred to the
Constitutional Court to test the constitutionality of some provisions
of the Electoral
Act which criminalises freedom of expression and breaches the
organisation and its employees’ fundamental rights.
made the determination after ERC lawyer, Trust Maanda, a member
of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights filed an application seeking
to declare as unconstitutional Section 40 of the Electoral Act for
being in breach of Section 61, 62, 64 and 67 of the Constitution
The ERC represented
by the organisation’s director Tawanda Chimhini also wants
the Constitutional Court to declare Section 40 of the Electoral
Act as void for being overbroad, vague and imprecise.
The ERC wants
proceedings to be stayed pending the determination by the Constitutional
Court of the above mentioned questions.
arrested together with Farai Saungweme, Wadzanai Previous Nyakudya
and Moses Chikora and charged with contravening Section 40 (c) (1)
(g) of the Electoral Act ahead of the
July 31 harmonised elections for allegedly conducting voter
education without the approval of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
organisations in Zimbabwe have argued that ZEC has no capacity to
conduct voter education alone and other players must be allowed
trial of Abel Chikomo, the executive director of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum for allegedly running an “unregistered”
organisation suffered yet another false start on Monday 28 October
2013 after Magistrate Mahwe postponed the case to Wednesday 13 November
trial had been rescheduled to commence on Monday 28 October 2013
could not start as Magistrate Mahwe indicated that he wanted to
dispense with several cases lined up in his court before presiding
over the human rights campaigner’s case. This if the fifth
time that Chikomo’s trial has had to be postponed.
charge that Chikomo contravened Section 6 (3) of the Private
Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act Chapter 17:15 after he allegedly
conducted some activities without being registered with the Social
Welfare Department under the PVO Act. The charge, which Chikomo
denies, came after the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a non-governmental
umbrella organisation conducted a survey on transitional justice
in Harare’s Highfield suburb.
The State says
this was illegal since the organisation is not registered as a PVO.
The State claims that he unlawfully instructed two of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum’s employees to commence or carry out
a survey in Harare’s Highfield suburb with the intention to
obtain people's recommendations on the preferred transitional justice
mechanism for Zimbabwe, without his organization registering with
the Social Welfare Department under the PVO Act.
Last year, Chikomo’s
trial on the same charges, which first arose in February 2011, was
shelved after State prosecutor Innocent Chingarande withdrew summons
issued against him as the State was not ready to proceed with the
persecution of Chikomo, who is represented by Selby Hwacha of Dube
Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners, who is also a board member
for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is viewed as yet another official
harassment of civic organisations and human rights defenders operating
Visit the ZLHR
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.