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Election petitions
Hansard, Parliament of Zimbabwe
November 10, 2004

Mrs STEVENSON: asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs:

  • to inform the House how many election petitions were filed in 2000;
  • to inform the House haw many have been finalised;
  • to explain the implications of laws passed in Parliament by Members eventually found not to have been duly elected.

MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFIARS (Mr CHINAMASA): I thank the Hon Mrs Stevenson, Member of Parliament for Harare North, for asking the question and I respond as follows:

  • Madam Speaker, all the election petitions filed in the 2000 elections and which were politically motivated and were instigated and sponsored by the British, were all filed by MDC. So MDC would know the number of petitions which it filed in 2000. They have that information in their own records. I would therefore respectfully ask Ms Stevenson to ask the MDC Secretary General, Professor Welshman Ncube to provide this information.
  • Madam Speaker, I am not privy to any of these petitions. I have no information as to which election petitions were filed and at what various stages they are. Again I would refer Ms Stevenson to the instigators of these petitions. I am sure they would know.
  • Madam Speaker, in Zimbabwe the judiciary is independent and the Executive has no authority whatsoever to supervise what the judiciary does in the day to day conduct of its business. In this regard, I can only speculate that because of increased litigation, it has not been possible to finalise these petitions timeously and I doubt if there is anything which can be done given the deluge of litigations that our court are facing. Zimbabwe now takes pride as one of the most litigious countries in Africa, if not the world.
  • I am again not privy to the information as regards which Members of Parliament are currently in the House and whose election is still subject to a court ruling. I would respectfully ask the Hon Ms Stevenson to ask the Hon members concerned.
  • Madam Speaker, as far as I am aware, this Parliament is properly constituted by Members of Parliament who are constitutionally elected to sit in this House. I am sure that if any information comes to the Speakerís attention that any Member is declared by the court unlawfully elected hand has not appealed against such decision, you would not hesitate to declare that seat vacant.

Mrs STEVENSON: I would like to re-ask the first two questions. Madam Speaker, in my view the Minister of Justice has records or should have records and if he does not then there is a serious problem in his Ministry. His Ministry should have a record of all that takes place in our courts. The Minister should be able to answer that question. I wish to restate that he has not answered the question and it is his duty as Minister to answer questions in this House. I would respectfully ask that he answers the questions.

Mr CHINAMASA: I think I want to beg the Hon MDC legal practitioners here outside Parliament to advise you that there is no way that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs would have a record of what takes place in every court, every day. We have scores of courts countrywide; we have no business as a Ministry unless where my Ministry is sued. We have no business to know what is going on and in fact, we do not know what takes place in the courts.

Ms STEVENSON: May I place on the table for the information of the Hon Speaker and the House the state of the electoral petitions to date?

DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Stevenson, I am afraid that you cannot table this paper. Thank you.

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