|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
March 03, 2002
Please note that pressure of work makes it very difficult to respond to enquiries timeously and individually for now. It would help greatly if you circulate these updates far and wide and encourage others to join this mailing list sooner rather than later.
Given the recent judgement handed down in the High Court by Judge Adams, do I still have to go to court?
Judge Adams recently handed down a judgement in the Tsvangirai v Registrar-General case, which extends the deadline for dual nationals to complete renunciation of foreign citizenship from Jan 06 to Aug 06, 2002. People who had not successfully completed this procedure by Jan 06 are subsequently eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections. The govt is highly likely to challenge this verdict before the election so take nothing for granted.
Despite the above you are still required to turn up for your court hearing and follow this process through.
Remember that as long as your appeal against the R-G's notice of objection is unresolved, your name must remain on the voters' roll.
Alteration required on ZLHR forms as a result of Judge President Chidyausiku's ruling
Judge President Chidyausiku this last week ruled in the Supreme Court that a common roll will not be used in the forthcoming election. All voters will have to vote from within the constituencies in which they are registered. His reasons for this judgement have not yet been made available. Consequently it would seem relevant to remove point 1. under "Questions for Determination" of the Appeal Forms supplied by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
ZLHR need your feedback. Please advise them of the results of your court hearing timeously so that they can keep abreast of how things are progressing. Information from those of you who have had objections "withdrawn" by the state are especially asked to get in touch.
Email: email@example.com giving name, case number, public prosecutor, magistrate and other relevant info.
Please contact Graeme Nish at Winterton, Holmes and Hill for assistance with magistrate's court hearings. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Prosecutors and Magistrates
Please consider how inapproriate it is to vent your anger on these government employees. They are not responsible for the Registrar-General's current exercise in disenfranchisement. In many cases they have worked hard to guide appellants through the court process with courtesy and consideration.
Latest advice from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Information on citizenship and voting queries
In response to the many enquiries we have received about citizenship and voting issues, and having observed the confusion which has arisen at the magistrates courts around the country as a result of the short notice of hearings, etc., we offer the following opinions. Please note, however, that as the law is changing daily – with case decisions, appeals and new regulations coming out – this is the best information we can give you at this time.
This is general information and is not intended to be regarded as "legal advice". It is important that you consult a lawyer, as each individual’s circumstances are different.
you have not been resident in Zimbabwe since 31 December 1985 and you renounced
your Zimbabwe citizenship
>>> you have no right to vote in the presidential election.
you were a permanent resident before 31 December 1985, and did not take out
>>> you are entitled to vote and your name should be on the voters’ roll. If you are called to court, you should provide evidence to the magistrate so that your case can be withdrawn. If your name has been removed from the voters roll, you can make an urgent application to the High Court to ensure that you are put back onto the roll. You will need a lawyer.
you properly renounced your foreign citizenship and have subsequently been
issued with a Zimbabwe passport before the recent Citizenship Amendment Act
2001, and have been called to court
>>> you should explain this to the prosecutor, and provided you produce adequate evidence, they may withdraw your case. If the prosecutor does not withdraw the case or the magistrate requests further evidence, we suggest that you advise the magistrate that since the Constituency Registrar has produced no evidence in your case, you wish to call the Registrar General to give evidence on your status as a properly confirmed Zimbabwe citizen who has legally renounced any foreign citizenship.
you had Zimbabwe citizenship and did not renounce this or give up your foreign
citizenship during the last few months (ie ‘did nothing’)
>>> you risk becoming stateless. One recent High Court judgement in the case of Tsvangirai v Registrar-General decided that the period for renunciation should be extended by a further 6 months. However, the state has appealed against this decision and it is possible that the Supreme Court may overturn this judgement. Therefore, if you do not have rights to a foreign passport, you are likely to have your Zimbabwe passport confiscated/cancelled and you will be stateless. You will need to consult a lawyer. If you illegally maintained dual citizenship, you will lose your Zimbabwe citizenship and may be prosecuted.
If you received a "notice of objection" from your Constituency Registrar:-
and you did
not successfully note your appeal in the stipulated time, and you have a valid
reason for not doing so (eg you were out of the country, you were in hospital,
the registered slip was sent to the wrong address, or the Constituency
Registar’s office refused to accept your notice even if you were in time)
>>> you can make an urgent application to the High Court for a review. You will need a lawyer.
· and you were successful in noting your appeal within the stipulated time (eg in person, or by way of registered mail and you have the post office slip to prove this) you should have been notified of your court hearing by personal delivery. If you have not received a "notice of hearing" you can go to your Constituency Registrar to enquire when your matter is to be heard. If you are not given a satisfactory response, you can make an urgent application to the High Court. You will need a lawyer.
If you were successful in noting your appeal and receive a "notice of hearing" please prepare yourself by accessing the information which we have already circulated on the email and internet. Subscribe to the Citizenship Lobby Group updates by emailing email@example.com or downloading the information from the website www.kubatana.net. If you do not have email or internet, you need to find a friend who will do this for you.
ZLHR has prepared draft statements for you to use in court. Read all the information carefully. You will need to change the wording to suit your personal circumstances, remember to sign the statement and submit it to the court. If you are asking for a referral to the High Court, you must inform the magistrate of this immediately your case is called and offer your written statement to the court. (If you are called to the Harare magistrates court, there are volunteers available who can give you the forms.) We stress that these forms have been prepared for persons who have been resident since 31 December 1985 and who renounced their Zimbabwe citizenship. If you did not do this, eg never took out citizenship, you should take your permanent residence certificate to the court and advise the prosecutor/magistrate of your status as a permanent resident before 31 December 1985.
We stress that you need to read the information and draft statements carefully and change any ‘facts’ so that they apply to you. If in doubt, consult a lawyer.
If you receive a notice of hearing and cannot appear in person, you can appoint someone else to attend for you. You will need to complete a written statement of your facts (see above) and sign a formal letter of appointment for your agent. You can use the following wording:
hereby appoint ………. to act on my behalf in the matter between …(your name) .. vs
the Constituency Registrar for … Constituency. Case No …..(from your notice of
hearing)….at the …………..magistates court.
If you were called to court and missed your hearing, you can check with the prosecutor of the court to which you were called to find out what has happened to your case. If your case was dismissed, you will be struck off the voters roll. You can make an urgent application to the High Court to set aside the magistrates decision. You will need a lawyer.
If you were called to court and could not be present for your hearing and you advised the court in advance, you can consult a lawyer to have your case heard.
If you have already appeared in court and you lost your case, you can appeal against the magistrate’s decision. Get the information on appeal procedure from the email/internet. You have 7 days in which to note your appeal.
If you have already appeared in court and had your case referred to the High Court, you should contact ZLHR for additional ‘heads of argument’ to be filed in your case. Please urgently send a report to the fax or email address below, giving your case number, name, contact details etc, if you have not already provided us with all this information.
Please assist us to track all these legal issues concerning citizenship and voting by submitting to us the details of your case. If you send us this written information, we can track the decisions being made at these hearings and try to provide further information and possibly assistance by way of class actions.
Please send us a written report stating briefly the relevant information (eg name, case number, contact phone and date of hearing and outcome or other details) and send this to us by fax on Harare 251468, or by mail to P O Box CY 1393 Causeway. If you have email, please submit this information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We cannot take down this information over the phone, and also cannot provide you with any information if you do not give us details of the nature of your enquiry, since we are prioritising our very limited manpower to assist persons who have been called to court at short notice.
info is available on the internet at: