HARARE – The Constitutional Court (Concourt) has agreed to hear an urgent chamber application filed by opposition leader, Douglas Mwonzora who is seeking nullification of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s delimitation report for allegedly failing to consider census results, among other things.
A three-panel bench chaired by Justice Paddington Garwe Thursday allowed the MDC-T leader direct access to ConCourt noting that his case merited the apex court’s full attention.
Mwonzora recently filed an application demanding a repeat of the controversial ZEC exercise whose effect could be the delay of elections due later this year.
He argues the initial report that has since been gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa was fraught with irregularities.
Mwonzora cited as respondents, Mnangagwa, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Attorney General Prince Machaya and ZEC.
ZEC has already given a notice to defend the application.
ConCourt ruled Mwonzora should be heard.
“In the overall interest of justice, it is hereby ordered that direct access be granted to allow the matter to be argued before a full bench.
“It is hereby ordered that the application for direct access is granted.
“The applicant shall file the substantive submissions within three days of the granting of this order.
“The matter shall proceed according to the rules of this court,” ruled the judge.
Mwonzora was represented by his attorney Trust Maanda while ZEC was represented by Tawanda Kanengoni.
Maanda successfully argued the matter merited the bench’s attention as it touched on violation of fundamental rights.
He also argued Mwonzora was rightfully placed to lodge the challenge as he is MDC president who intends to contest upcoming general elections and should accordingly be interested in the delimitation report so that there could be a level playing field.
“He is a senator in the parliament of Zimbabwe,” Maanda said.
“In terms of that section, elections must be free and fair.
“In terms of section 155 which talks about the principles, the political rights are also safeguarded.
“The contention before the court is that the delimitation report is an essential element of achieving free and fair elections.
“The position of the applicant is that unless the delimitation report is in terms of the constitution, it is unconstitutional.”
He said Mwonzora and his party should have equal benefit of the law and protection.
“The delimitation report was not done well. As a result, it is void,” he said.
Maanda said ZEC was wrong in relying on a preliminary census report to construct the boundaries.
In its response, ZEC said there was not much difference between the preliminary census report and the final one.
ZEC urged the court to dismiss the politician’s challenge.
Zimbabwe’s poll management authority argues there were no prospects of success in the application filed by the politician.
“The applicants alleged that they are being violated. My learned friend (Maanda) said the applicants do not rely on section 56 but on section 67.
“The concession that they do not seek to motivate section 56 means they have deviated from its founding affidavit.
“He also failed to indicate what discriminatory aspects arose from the report.”
Kanengoni also submitted that there were other remedies which Mwonzora could have pursued.
“The vagueness of the basis of this application renders the prospects of success invalid,” ZEC says.
“Alternative remedies exist.
“The applicants do not even address the question of the letter that is attached by the Director General of Zimstats that explains that the difference between the preliminary report and final report was 22 people and all of them were in Harare province.
“The information that was relied upon by the Commission is correct.”
Kanengoni then urged the court not to entertain Mwonzora saying redoing the exercise would be misuse of public funds. — ZimLive