Tendai Kamhungira 15 March 2018
HARARE – The Constitutional Court (Con-Court) yesterday reserved ruling in
a legal challenge to government’s decision to bar expatriate Zimbabweans
from voting from their foreign bases in the forthcoming key 2018 vote.
Leading the full Con-Court bench of nine judges, Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza
reserved ruling in the matter after hearing arguments from lawyers who
represented the parties.
This comes after Chief Justice Luke Malaba gave the green light to three
Zimbabweans living outside the country to file the application on the
right to vote.
At the last scheduled sitting, the Con-Court deferred the hearing because
the court record was not bound and the papers not paginated.
The Con-Court heard that judicial review application lodged over whether
government has the power to bar Zimbabweans not resident in the country
from voting in the 2018 presidential, parliamentary and municipal polls.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)
acting chair Emmanuel Magade, Zec, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo,
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney-General Prince Machaya are
cited as respondents.
According to the application filed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), acting on the instructions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora,
the applicants argued that the country’s Constitution, which came into
force in 2013, guarantees the right to vote for all citizens.
Human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba, who is in self-imposed exile in South
Africa, Sibonile Mfumisi, also resident in South Africa, and Darlington
Nyambiya, who is living and working in the United Kingdom, are the
The applicants argued that Section 67 (3) of the Constitution states that:
“Every Zimbabwean citizen who is of or over 18 years of age has the right
to vote in all elections and referendums to which this Constitution or any
other law applies, and to do so in secret.”