Con-Court to hear legal challenge to Diaspora vote ban 

Source: Con-Court to hear legal challenge to Diaspora vote ban – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      22 December 2017

HARARE – The Constitutional Court will on January 18 hear details of the
legal challenge to government’s decision to bar expatriate Zimbabweans
from voting from their foreign bases in the forthcoming key 2018 vote.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba will hear that a 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.

The case has been brought on behalf of human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba,
who lives in exile in South Africa, Sibonile Mfumisi, also resident in
South Africa, and Darlington Nyambiya, who is living and working in the
United Kingdom, by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

The rights lawyers argue that the country’s Constitution, which came into
force in 2013, guarantees the right to vote for all citizens.

According to a notice of set-down issued on Monday, the matter will be
heard in less than a month from now.

“Take notice that the above application will be heard before (Luke) Malaba
CJ (Chief Justice), in chambers on Thursday the 18th day of January 2018
at 11:00hrs or so soon thereafter as counsel may be heard. The parties
should have filed heads of argument by not later than 4:00pm on January 8,
2018,” reads the notice of set-down.

According to court papers, 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.”

They further argued that some provisions of the Electoral Act prevent
Zimbabwean citizens living and working outside the country from exercising
their right to vote unless they are able to physically come to Zimbabwe to
vote.

“Respondents should be ordered to put in place all appropriate measures to
enable the applicants’ registration and participation in the 2018
presidential, parliamentary and local authority elections as voters,” the
court heard.

At least more than 3 million Zimbabweans are living outside the country in
search of greener pastures following a debilitating economic and political
situation.

But those in the diaspora said they are still entitled to make an input in
the running of the country’s affairs, including the right to vote.

“I regularly send remittances to relatives who remain in Zimbabwe. I was
heartened to note that in terms of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Policy, the
government acknowledges that the Zimbabwe diaspora wishes to be engaged as
active citizens in national dialogue and affairs as they bring
international exposure and lessons to the table. I also continue to have a
vested interest in the electoral processes of my country, and keenly
monitor events back home,” Shumba said in an affidavit.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar

    Con-Court case to hear legal Challenge to Diaspora Vote Ban to be heard on the 18th day of January 2018.
    We are in support of this matter raised by Comrades Lawyer Gabriel Shumba (South Africa),Sibonisile Mfumisi (South Africa) and Darlington Nyambiya and if the interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa is serious about peace in Zimbabwe, economic development and giving to the Zimbabweans the freedom that we require and which we failed to obtain because of the Mugabe regime, all Zimbabweans living in and those living outside the country must be allowed to vote in the coming 2018 elections. Section 67 (3) of the Zimbabwe Constitution is very clear as it allows all above 18 years to vote regardless of where they are in the world as long as we will be choosing a government of our choice.
    We stand firm on this matter for all Zimbabweans regardless of colour or creed to be allowed to choose leadership of their choice. Comrade Mnangagwa should have stated this when he addressed the diaspora on the 21st day of December 2017 at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria and also find a way to address the issue of the many of our people killed by the Mugabe regime in Matabeleland. The pipe that he is smoking should embrace peace in its totality and give the Zimbabwean people to choose their own leadership and the party of their choice. Aluta Continua “The Struggle Continues.”