Tendai Kamhungira 14 March 2018
HARARE – The Constitutional Court is today expected to hear the legal
challenge to government’s decision to bar expatriate Zimbabweans from
voting from their foreign bases in the forthcoming key 2018 vote.
The matter has been postponed twice before on January 18 and February 14,
as the judges in the apex court ordered the applicants to have the record
paginated in terms of the court rules.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba has given 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 decision of the court is to postpone this matter and allow the
applicants to attend to the record. This matter will be postponed to March
14, with no order as to costs,” Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, leading the
Con-Court bench, said.
The Con-Court will hear 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
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.”